Antioxidants are widely used as ingredients in skin care products and dietary supplements in the hope of preventing some disease and maintain overall health and healthy skin. Find out what antioxidants are, how they work, and what benefits they provide.
What are Free Radicals?
Free radicals are molecules that cause aging, tissue damage, and such disease as cancer and heart disease. These molecules are very unstable. A free radical tries to release or stealing an electron from a healthy cell to get stable itself, causing damage to the cell’s DNA. When a free radical releases or steals, a second radical is formed. The second radical does the same thing to a third molecule. This process continues until the radical is stabilized.
Free radicals are created by regular bodily processes such as breaking down foods we eat, environmental pollution, cigarette smoking, and sun’s rays.
What are Antioxidants?
Antioxidants are stable molecules capable of preventing your cells against the effects of free radicals.
How Antioxidants Work?
Antioxidants neutralize free radicals. They stop the formation of free radicals by sacrificing one of their electrons to break the chain of free radicals. The antioxidants don’t become free radicals after sacrificing because they are stable.
Antioxidants also prevent oxidation by reducing the rate of chain initiation.
Benefits of Antioxidants
– Improve immune function to resist to flues, viruses and infections
– Reduce the chances of heart disease, cancer, diabetes and neurological disease
– Slow down aging processes of cells and overall body
– Repair and rejuvenate skin
There are many sources of antioxidants. They are found in abundance in healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables. Common antioxidants are Vitamin A, C, E, selenium, glutathione, alpha lipoic acid and melatonin. Get enough antioxidants your body needs by incorporating at least five servings of fruit and vegetables a day into your die.
Foods rich in antioxidants are
– Fruits: Açaí, blueberry, blackberry, strawberry, cherry, raspberry, black currant, pomegranate, dark grape, orange, apples, prunes and kiwi.
– Vegetables: Kale, spinach, Brussels sprouts, alfalfa sprouts, broccoli, beets, red bell peppers, onion, artichoke, carrot and corn.
– Beverages & chocolate: Cocoa powder, dark chocolate, red wine, red grape juice, milk chocolate, white tea, green tea, Oolong tea, and black tea.
– Nuts & seeds: Walnuts, pecans, hazelnut, oats, and sunflower seeds.
– Dry fruits: Apricots, prunes, dates, and raisins.
– Herbs & spices: Allspice, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, lemon balm, oregano, peppermint, and rosemary