Antioxidants: what they are and why do you need it?

While reading through a catalog of nutrition that is indispensable when it comes to maintaining a healthy mind and body, apart from essential vitamins and minerals, another component that you are most likely to come across is antioxidants. Before we get started with anything else, let us explore the notches of the element and make an attempt to delineate its significance in our daily lives. Antioxidants, as the denomination suggests, are molecules found in certain fruits, vegetables, and some other foods and assist in combatting free radicals. Free radicals, in turn, are the unstable cells produced by the body as a result of its natural mechanisms when it converts the food into energy including breathing or are inculcated from external sources such as the raging pollution, sunlight, alcohol, and cigarette smoke. 

Also, before we forget, this article is going to be a little long, so grab a few cherries or a bar of dark cacao chocolate so that every time we mention the word “antioxidants”, you can take a bite of them whose implications will be gradually revealed as we progress with our discussion.

What is the role of antioxidants?

Remember those days when your grandma would advise you to have a plate of freshly cut fruits and green vegetables alongside your meal for a glowing skin and healthy metabolism? We hardly paid any heed to them then and were of the opinion that the world will at some point come up with substitutes to balance out our nourishment; well, after carefully analyzing, who do you think had the last laugh now? 

For those of you who liked missing the biology classes at school (so did we!) and consequently, have some doubt in their minds about the nature of free radicals, then let us tell you that they essentially stem from an unpaired electron and in order to neutralize themselves, they are always on the lookout for a potential electron from the nearby cells thus, eventually depriving them of the same. This imbalance makes way for a phenomenon that causes a domino effect of damage and this is where the role of antioxidants comes into play. When introduced in the body, the antioxidants contribute some electrons to the free radicals so that they are spared from borrowing them from the neighboring cells and the potential damage is controlled.

Every system on the face of earth needs its own share of balance to function accurately and here, the free radicals are no exception; the moment the oxidative reactions are streamlined, the issues are reduced. Reversely, when the body starts generating more free radicals in excess amounts, they accumulate together and open doors to a process called oxidative stress- something that is robust enough to disrupt the conventional cell structure and consequently leads to aging (as if the regular stress wasn’t enough!). Apart from this general repercussion, oxidative stress has often been associated with graver illnesses such as cardiovascular ailments and even terminal diseases like cancer.

Why are antioxidants crucial to our skin?

If you are looking forward to revealing the secret of young skin, it inevitably has to be the stimulation of collagen on its surface. When working towards a fresh and plump skin, you must resort to recourses that will trigger the production of collagen and tighten the cells by binding them close to one another. Therefore, antioxidants are vital when it concerns the skin and furnishes it with a safeguard to prevent pre-mature aging and skin damage in the long term. When the amount of free radicals increases in our blood, it damages collagen and proceeds to initiate skin dryness, wrinkles, fine line, and aging. However, we cannot steer away from accepting the fact that our body indeed naturally constructs antioxidants to defend the free radicals but, they often fail to rebalance the electrons and relax the unstable cells.

Now that you are acquainted with the chief objective of antioxidants, you will know why several foods and skincare products advertise their yields with the label of their presence. Ingesting or using substances that are rich in antioxidants will automatically multiply the chances of having a young skin and restore the initial health by balancing the radicals. Other than its obvious implications, turning to antioxidants in your regular life is bound to fabricate a palpable long-term difference in the overall wellness and appearance of the skin. In the following section, we will be serving you with an insight into dominant sources of antioxidants so that you can inculcate some of them in your diet.

Pro tip: The Korean and French beauty regimes swear by antioxidants way more than makeup; to them, their natural skin comes first and then they turn to cosmetics to make things more interesting.

Sources of antioxidants

Did you know?

Did you know that antioxidants are capable if reducing the risk of dementia by at least 50%? Most of you didn’t right? Well, you can thank us later. Also, before we forget, they are an ideal solution when it comes to balancing your moods because flavonoids, a component found in bright-colored fruits have been found to carry mood-enhancing qualities.

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Even if you don’t prefer choosing a diet that is solely dedicated to antioxidants, complying with a balanced meal that is healthy and fulfilling at the same time will secure the job for you. Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Beta-carotene, Lycopene, Lutein, and selenium are common constituents that contain a generous proportion of antioxidants; nevertheless, here are a few other supplies that will grant with you with the similar benefits.

1. Cherries

Owing to its natural property of carrying a substantial quantity of antioxidants, cherries are thus, the most favored ingredients when it comes to curating products that assure age-reversing privileges. But, the best part about cherries is the verity that they are also enriched with flavonoids and Vitamins A and C that are welcomed by the skin like magic. If you want to identify a genuine variant of cherries, then look for the ones that have a dark red color because more opaque the color, higher is the measure of antioxidants.

2. Cacao

Cacao is one of the most acclaimed sources of antioxidants and for all the right reasons. Their antioxidant content is way higher than cherries and blueberries and hence, is justifiably titled as the antioxidant powerhouse. Besides, injecting cacao in your diet can enhance memory, improve blood flow and improve cardiovascular health. Formulating cacao in your regular meals will also make certain that you are supplied with a higher quantity of water and oxygen- the two dominant keys to unlock a glowing skin. Cacao power can be bought here.

3. Moringa

The leaves of the moringa tree are another recommended source of antioxidant supplements that contain this ingredient in a portion six times greater than the goji berries. Additionally, moringa leaves are also known for carrying Vitamin A that dodges the skin from aging at an early age and Vitamin E, which shields it from oxidative stress caused by the free radicals. Moringa can be consumed with regular food and smoothies or combined with moisturizing creams and shower gels to function directly on the skin and rejuvenate it (let us tell you that the aroma of moringa can make you go gaga over it). Moringa power can be bought here.

4. Turmeric

The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric make it an ideal solution for skin recovery and restoring skin vitality. You can apply the turmeric directly on the skin or have it with milk or green tea depending upon your requirements. Moreover, turmeric paste turns out to be an incredible resolution to treat bruises and cuts and relieve it from conditions like eczema, aches, and psoriasis. Turmeric can also be consumed with milk and the term ‘The Golden Milk‘ is rightfully coined because of its powerful healing and restoration benefits.

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JAW Editorial
JAW Editorial
The justaboutwellness editorial team worked together on the creation of this article, combining their deep expertise honed by years of reporting on health and well-being. It has been thoroughly researched, written, fact-checked, and reviewed by our editors.

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