Antioxidants: The Most Underrated Nutrient

Something that goes against oxygen is an essential nutrient?

YES!

On an average, you can last without food for up to 3 weeks, without water for up to 4-5 daysbut barely a minute without the ever so essential oxygen.

So what’s the need to counter such an important element?

Oxygen is a highly reactive element and can very easily become a ‘free radical.’ Free radicals in optimum quantities play a major role in a number of usual cellular processes.

However, the ‘excess of anything…’ cliché also applies to the essential free radicals. As their concentration in your body increases, your cells, DNA, proteins and membranes become susceptible to damage from them.

Free radicals are not only produced naturally by the body but also present around us. High proportions of free radicals are mostly found in cigarette smoke, industrial areas, areas where the proportion of oxygen is high etc.

How do anti-oxidants work?

The answer to this question is purely chemical. So readers who could never score more than a C on their chemistry test might want to skip to the next part.

Free radicals are highly reactive due to a missing electron in their atom. In order to attain stability, they steal an electron from the nearest molecule. This prompts a chain reactionand more free radicals are formed.

Anti-oxidants that we consume and produce give the free radicals the electrons that they are so desperately looking for without become free radicals themselves thus bringing the chain reaction to a halt.

What are the potential harmful effects of free radicals?

Still not serious about anti-oxidants? Perhaps, now you will be.

Researchers have claimed to have found a link between free radicals and cancer.

People who have their diets rich in anti-oxidants exhibit lower possibility of being cancer prone.

Links have also been established between anti-oxidants and prevention of the following:

  • Heart diseases.
  • Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Weaker immunity.
  • Skin aging.

Apart from these illnesses, free radicals contribute to about 50 other health problems.

You NEED Anti-oxidants!

By now you must have realized the significance of anti-oxidants. So let us tell you where to find this ever-so-crucial element of your diet.

Anti-oxidants are founds in all plants and fruits and vegetables in varying amounts. Here we list down the richest sources of anti-oxidants:

  1. Goji Berries.
  2. Wild blueberries.
  3. Dark Chocolate. (Cool, right?)
  4. Pecans.
  5. Artichoke.
  6. Kidney beans.
  7. Blackberries and cranberries.

The following herbs also contain abundance of anti-oxidants:

  1. Clove.
  2. Cinnamon.
  3. Turmeric.
  4. Oregano.
  5. Parsley.
  6. Basil.

“I don’t like veggies… I’ll opt for some supplements” NO! Wait!

Balance is the law of nature. And we cannot escape it.

You only need to balance the harmful free radicals with anti-oxidants and not go all guns blazing against them.

Experts have advised against taking anti-oxidants supplements available in the market and go for natural sources only.

Supplements may provide you with excessive anti-oxidants which might end up suppressing the natural anti-oxidants producing mechanism of your body.

Sticking to natural sources no matter how rich they might be in anti-oxidants content is generally a good idea because irrespective of their ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity, a fancy term for anti-oxidant content) values they cannot possibly supply you with ‘excess’ amount of anti-oxidants.

MORAL OF THE STORY:

Eat your vegetables and fruits regularly.

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