Antioxidants are essential for long-term health. They perform a wide range of tasks and their effect on the human body cannot be replaced by anything else. Unfortunately, we can only make them in limited quantities, which are not enough for proper functioning.
Moreover, the ability to produce antioxidants decreases with increasing age. We are therefore dependent on obtaining them from food or supplements. If the body is deficient in antioxidants, it becomes weaker, more frail and ages faster. If you want to prevent this, you should know the most powerful natural antioxidants in the world! What are they? Let’s introduce them.
What are antioxidants and how are free radicals related to them?
Antioxidants are substances that fight free radicals and their effect on the body. To understand their function properly, it is necessary to explain what free radicals actually are.
Free radicals are essentially unstable and highly reactive metabolites that are naturally produced in the body due to aging, metabolic processes or disease. They can also increase if you smoke, move around in polluted environments, overuse certain medications, eat poorly, etc. In short, free radicals benefit from an unhealthy lifestyle.
The problem is that free radical molecules have an odd number of electrons that they are trying to balance. As a result, the missing electrons are replaced by electrons from other molecules, damaging cells or even the structure of DNA. You may know the whole process by the collective name “oxidation” or “oxidative stress”. This can cause not only faster ageing of skin, tissues and organs, but also, for example, blood vessel corrosion or other serious diseases of civilisation.
And how do antioxidants fight free radicals?
Very simply. An antioxidant donates the missing electron to the free radical, protecting the cells in the body from damage or electron removal. In addition, some antioxidants can repair damaged cells or strengthen natural defenses. Hence, there are several types of antioxidants and you should combine them with each other. Do not take only one food containing antioxidants or one particular dietary supplement for a long time.
What are the most powerful natural antioxidants and where can we find them?
There are two types of antioxidants – fat-soluble and water-soluble. Both work a little differently in the body, but are very important. Therefore, to maximise cellular protection against free radicals, it is essential to ensure you get both types of antioxidants.
The most important antioxidants include:
Resveratrol – resveratrol has been discovered in white and blue grapes, berries, peanuts and some plants used in Eastern medicine. A certain amount of resveratrol is found not only in fresh berries, but even in red wine. It is therefore not for nothing that it is called the fountain of youth. It helps to lower blood pressure, alleviate allergic reactions and strengthen the immune system. Sometimes it is even used as a supplement for cardiovascular diseases. Grape juice is then often used in the cosmetics industry.
Vitamin C – this is ascorbic acid, which has a beneficial effect on the body. Unfortunately, our body cannot make vitamin C on its own, so it is extremely important to take it in the form of fruit or supplements. Moreover, in times of illness, flu season or vascular problems, it is necessary to increase its quantity. In addition to protecting cells from oxidative stress, it also contributes to normal immune function, collagen production, relieving fatigue and improving the condition of blood vessels, gums and bones. Vitamin C is found in citrus fruits, rose hips or broccoli. An important source is also the berry called Acai berry, which contains a wide range of other vitamins, minerals and therefore antioxidants in addition to vitamin C.
Carotenoids – a great antioxidant benefit for the human body are the so-called carotenoids. It is easy to recognize foods that contain carotenoids by their “juicy” and distinctive colours. The highest proportion of carotenoids can be found in carrots, pumpkin, watermelon, peppers, oranges, spinach, eggs and Chinese curcuma. The Chinese curcurrant, or goji, is one of the best superfoods in the world thanks to its beneficial composition full of beneficial amino acids, vitamins and minerals. By taking it, you will provide your body with the necessary antioxidants, thus slowing down the ageing process caused by free radicals.