The term ‘antioxidant’ is no doubt one you’ve come across quite a few times when looking up health benefits of food stuffs, or reading health and wellbeing articles (like this one!). But what are antioxidants exactly, and how do they help us?
Antioxidants counter the harmful effect of oxidisation in our bodies that are caused by unstable molecules – known as free radicals. Antioxidants are like the caped crusaders of our biological system, with the free radicals as the sworn enemy. If you eat and drink antioxidant-rich products, you’ll keep the free radicals at bay. And believe us, you’ll want to do so, as a proliferation of these unstable compounds can seriously damage healthy cells, and are connected to causing cancer, inflammatory conditions, heart disease, skin disorders and a weak immune system.
Lifestyle plays a big factor in the production of free radicals: pollution, cigarette smoke, and UV exposure are all triggers. Eating a diet high in refined sugar, processed foods, and trans fats also significantly increase your body’s production of them.
So, take a good look at what’s in your fridge and ask yourself if you’re giving your body the best chance of fighting the enemy. Fruit and vegetables are all high in antioxidants, so make sure you stock up on those. Scientists believe there are hundreds – maybe even thousands – of different substances that can act as an antioxidant in our bodies. Each type has a unique effect on health so it’s important to eat a varied diet in order to get the benefit of as many different antioxidants as possible.
Drinking tea is also an easy and delicious way of boosting your antioxidant levels. Just three cups a day can strengthen your system and help protect against free radicals. There are, of course, antioxidant supplements you can take, but you can’t beat the real thing, so we recommend changing your diet for a healthier lifestyle.
So, what are the benefits of antioxidants?
- Improve vision
- Fight heart disease
- Keep our skin healthy
- Reduce risk of cancer
- Lower risk of infection
- Protect us from pollutants
- Boost our skin’s natural glow
- Slow down the ageing process
- Manage anxiety and depression
- Strengthen the immune system
- Minimise damage from free radicals