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Anti-Oxidants: Nature’s Anti-Aging Shield

antioxidants_fruit_Juice_drYou have probably heard about anti-oxidants? Perhaps you have read somewhere or caught a glimpse while shopping along the vitamins and minerals aisle at the supermarket. But what it is all about? Anti-oxidants are necessary to build a great and healthy body. While media has hyped anti-oxidants to the point that it has become a catchphrase about anything that is healthy—it cannot be denied that it works. Anti-0xidants can help slow down the aging, help fight certain cancers and even prevent the onset of chronic diseases, inflammation and even help maintain a great mental health. Let’s learn more about this wonder nutrient that has taken humanity and your local grocery store by storm.

What are anti-oxidants?
Anti-oxidants are nature’s best defense that the body can use to maintain good health. These are natural compounds that are found in some foods that you commonly eat every day. Anti-oxidants role is to neutralize the free radical that occurs also naturally in the body. Free radicals are substances that are also found inside the body but cause damage to fats, proteins and the DNA make-up of cells. This in turn may lead to diseases and accelerate the aging process.

Anti-oxidants are molecules that are interacting with free radicals and eliminate the chair reaction that can cause damage to the body and the skin. While there are some enzymes that can fight free radicals, anti-oxidants are one of the most efficient ways to bring down the ill effects of free radicals. Beta-carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E and selenium are the best anti-oxidants that are available for humans.

The body cannot make anti-oxidants on their own but needs to be supplied from the food that we eat or even from the supplements that we take.

What are free radicals?
Free radicals find its way inside the body through the food that we eat each day. When the body converts the food into energy, free radicals are produced. Other free radicals are sourced from the air that we breathe and even the action of the sunrays.

Smoking is one way to increase the levels of free radicals in the body. The smoke billowing from a tobacco contains numerous chemicals and at least 70 carcinogens that can cause cancers. Majority of the smoke that comes from smoking are oxidants. This is among of the things that make tobacco smoke dangerous to the health.

Is it a magic bullet?
While current research point out that anti-oxidants can help improve health it is not a magic bullet that will solve all health woes. Research has been quick to point out that vitamin C, E and beta-carotene are able to provide enough shield to fight cancer, cardiovascular diseases and other chronic health problems.

Are anti-oxidants the same?
Not quite. Anything that protects the cells from oxidation is technically can be called an anti-oxidant. There are other anti-oxidants that are not really nutrients like flavonoids, polyphenols and isoflavones. In fact there are 8,000 kinds of anti-oxidants that have been identified.

Do we really need it?
Anti-oxidants have shown to be able to protect the collagen in the skin. Often the damage caused by free radicals to the collagen causes fine lines to appear and also some wrinkles on the skin which is an indication of aging. People with bad collagen supply tend to appear older than they are supposed to be.

There have been studies that taking anti-oxidants improved eye health especially slowing down vision loss due to age-related macular degeneration. However, it has not been successful in preventing vision loss due to cataracts.

There have been several studies showing promise for anti-oxidants that would benefit cancer patients. Several patients that took beta-carotene have shown some reduction in cancer risk. Another study showed that selenium intake has shown promise a significant decrease to cancer risk especially to the colon, lung and prostate.

Anti-oxidants are helpful but they are not the only ones that can make the body healthy. Obviously, it would take more than just anti-oxidants to arrest the decline of the body due to the ravage of time. Diet and exercise are equally important plus living a life that is free from stress and anxiety completes the equation.

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