Updated: Nov 10
We all know that the prefix 'anti' means against, right? Well, when it comes to antioxidants, they're like superheroes against cell damage caused by harmful chemicals called oxidants.
You see, our bodies naturally produce oxidants, also known as 'free radicals', as a by-product of biochemical processes. These little troublemakers can damage DNA, fats, and proteins.
But they're not just limited to internal processes -- they also sneak in through external factors like sun exposure and environmental pollution. Plus, stress, unhealthy habits, and even certain foods increase their levels.
Just like rust on a car, oxidation inside our bodies causes cell breakdown. If we let our free radicals go wild, it can speed up the aging process and lead to serious illnesses like cardiovascular problems, eye disease, and even cancer. Not to mention a weakened immune system and trouble healing wounds and fighting infections. Some studies even suggest a connection to chronic conditions like arthritis.
Antioxidants come to the rescue by neutralizing free radicals and preventing damage. They're the body's repair crew, turning those troublemakers into harmless substances and fixing cellular damage.
Antioxidants for Mental Wellness
Did you know that antioxidants not only benefit our physical health but also play a crucial role in promoting mental wellness? By reducing oxidative stress, antioxidants support brain health and cognitive function. They help protect against cognitive decline, improve mood, and boost overall mental well-being.
Antioxidants for Physical Health
Our bodies produce certain antioxidant enzymes like catalase, superoxide dismutase, and glutathione. These are like superheroes that help us stay healthy.
First up is catalase. It's responsible for converting hydrogen peroxide into harmless water and oxygen. Say goodbye to those harmful free radicals!
Actually, the formation of hydrogen peroxide in cells is an attempt by the body to protect itself from an even more dangerous substance, superoxide. -- Joe Schwartz, PhD
Next, we have superoxide dismutase. This enzyme breaks down antioxidants, which are like shields that protect our cells from damage. It keeps our bodies in top shape.
Last but not least, we have glutathione. This amazing detoxifying agent helps us eliminate toxins. It's like a superhero cleaning crew for our bodies.
So, by having these antioxidant enzymes in our bodies, we're able to fight off harmful substances and keep ourselves healthy. They're pretty important, don't you think?
Antioxidants in our Diet
We can supplement antioxidants with super foods in our diet. You've probably heard of beta-carotene, vitamin B6, vitamin C, and vitamin E -- they're all antioxidant rockstars. And it's not just vitamins, minerals like selenium and zinc, and flavonoids like tart cherry can also do the trick.
To maximize your antioxidant intake, load up on fresh fruits and veggies, especially carrots, peppers, spinach, and tomatoes. Just remember, cooking can reduce antioxidant levels, so go for raw or steamed options whenever possible.
It's important to note that antioxidants work best when taken together, not alone. So, a balanced diet and natural supplements are your best bets. And if you're looking for a powerhouse super food, blueberries are a great contender. Blackberries, greens, kombucha (green tea and priobiotics), nuts, spirulina, and chia seeds are great additions for food combining.
The Challenge with Antioxidants
In the end, achieving optimal health includes having a balanced diet with plenty of antioxidants. If you don’t have enough time for grocery shopping or are eating out a lot, then it’s important to find nutritious alternatives like a super foods system to mix in beverages and smoothies, or an on-the-go-pouch. They will help provide the antioxidants your mind and body needs to stay healthy. Give them a try and see what they can do for you. After all, investing in our mind and body is one of the best investments we could make!
Protect your body and nourish your mind with antioxidants - your cells and mental wellness will thank you.
What do you need today? The power lies in your hands so make sure to take advantage of it!
Until next time,
Nelea R. Lane
a/k/a The Happy Juice Chick