Why Your Body Needs Antioxidants And How To Get Them
Written by: Brandi Monasco
You often hear that antioxidants are vital to maintaining good health; they are without a doubt essential to optimal health.
But, what exactly are antioxidants?
Imagine yourself as a king or queen and you have a body of soldiers surrounding and protecting you. The soldiers protect you from anything harmful that comes into your kingdom; they are willing to die just to protect you.
Antioxidants as like your body’s little soldiers: they protect your cells with enough defence against anything that tries to invade your body and damage to your cells.
Every day, your body is exposed to free radicals and your cells have about 10,000 attacks from these free radicals that can damage and destroy them. Free radicals can increase your risk of cancer and heart disease, lower the function of your immune system, cause cataracts and lead to Parkinson’s disease.
These free radical-fighting antioxidants actually have a lot of power when it comes to protecting your body and a lot of good things come from having them around.
Antioxidants play a role in preventing skin cancer and premature aging. Your skin is exposed to high levels of ultraviolet light from the sun every day, which can cause oxidative stress to your cells. Oxidative stress can cause severe harm such as damaging collagen and DNA, altering cell renewal and promoting the release of cytokines, which can trigger inflammatory skin diseases; all of this can cause premature skin aging and even skin cancer.
When your skin comes into contact with free radicals, your cells and antioxidants form a defense line to ward off these harmful free radicals.
Antioxidants also benefit your health by cleaning free radicals out of your bloodstream, in other words, perform a “detox.” During this detox, your liver filters the blood to remove toxins and unwanted chemicals. Antioxidants come into play during the detox by aiding the liver in the cleaning process. This type of detox actually happens every day without you even knowing it!
Antioxidants also repair any molecules that have been damaged by oxidative stress. In the event that cells that have been damaged by oxidative stress begin to grow – which is cancer – antioxidants cause the cancer cells to self-destruct.
Increasing your antioxidant intake will not only slow down the aging of your skin and protect you from skin cancer, but it will also help lower your risk for:
- Heart problems
- Mood disorders
- Immune system problems
- Eye problems
- Memory problems
Increasing your intake of antioxidants will ultimately help your body to run at its optimal level.
While your body naturally produces antioxidants, there can be times when your body is not producing enough, so you will need to supplement what your body produces.
To supplement your naturally-produced antioxidants, eat foods such as fruits and vegetables that are full of:
- Vitamin A (Beta-carotene)
- Sweet potatoes
- Kale and other dark leafy greens
- Romaine lettuce
- Dried apricots
- Butternut squash
- Sweet potato
- Sunflower seeds
- Yellow corn
- Romaine lettuce
It’s amazing to think how miniscule things such as antioxidants can have such a profound effect on the care of your health. What are your favorite antioxidant-boosting foods? Please share with us in the comments below!
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Brandi Monasco is a freelance writer, graphic designer and social media manager from Texas. She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Arts and has recently found a new love for health and nutrition.
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