Latest posts by Dr Navneet Goyal (see all)
Most of the fitness freaks are aware about the health benefits of consuming Antioxidants in food and diet– but hardly a few actually know what antioxidants are? This post is about many important myths and facts about these much hyped chemical substances- Antioxidants.
What are Antioxidants?
Antioxidants are naturally occurring chemical substances found in fruits, vegetables, chocolates, wine, tea and coffee. Antioxidants are found in various forms like, Flavanoids in chocolate, Lycopene in tomatoes, and Resvestatrol in wine. Beta Carotene in yellow fruits (Papaya, Mango, Carrots) is also an example of Antioxidant. In addition, these Antioxidants are also produced by the body system to fight against oxidants or the free radicals. They prevent or heal many chronic diseases like, heart problems, arthritis, various cancers, etc.
How Antioxidants Keep Us Healthy?
The Antioxidants are required by the body system to guard against the damage caused by oxidants species or the free radicals. The body produces free radicals as a result of stress and metabolic by products. These free radicals damage the cells, therefore resulting in the body system malfunction. The Antioxidants neutralize and remove these free radicals or the oxidants from the body, hence keeping the body healthy and fit. In addition, these chemicals are also considered as Anti-Aging because, they beautify the skin by neutralizing the free radicals, furthermore, reducing wrinkles and age-related signs.
(Image Courtesy: http://quantitativemedicine.net/2015/03/21/antioxidants-and-cancer/)
How Antioxidant Supplements Can Harm Us?
This will come out to be a real shock to the readers! Antioxidants taken as regular supplements could interfere seriously with the body functioning. Presenting as an extract from various researches and documented in Harvard Studies, Antioxidant supplements sold in the name of healthy well being is actually a myth.
The Dieticians, Ayurvedic practitioners and many similar professionals have now stressed a lot in selling supplements that provide Antioxidants. These professionals have created a serious hype about the use of Antioxidant supplements and healthy living. I call it a plain simple marketing strategy to fool the people and sell irrational products in the name of healthy living.
Do you even know that your body already possesses a wonderful natural Antioxidant defence system. Hence, there is no need of consuming these supplements, if you’re already having them in the form of natural fruits and vegetables. Furthermore, consuming too much of Antioxidants in the form of supplements may lead to the suppression of your body’s own ability to turn on its Antioxidant defense system. So, it is best to keep in moderation, or rather, you should only consume the Antioxidants naturally, and avoid the supplements altogether.
What Problems Arises With Poor Antioxidant Intake?
An imbalance between the Free Radicals and Antioxidants can lead to various kinds of organ dysfunction. Most noteworthy among them are Cancer, Heart Attacks / Rhythm disorders and Lung problems. Smoking, Alcohol, excessive physical work, stress, and similar events can raise the free radicals sharply. Consequently, this exposes the individual to the threat of above mentioned problems. So, what is the best way to stay Antioxidant rich? Include moderate amount of fresh fruits, fiber and green leafy vegetables in the daily diet. In addition, avoiding stress, smoking, and keep alcohol in moderation are other essential factors to watch.
(Image Courtesy: http://library.cqpress.com/cqresearcher/document.php?id=cqresrre2015103000)
Sources of Antioxidants
Tea is rich in Flavanoids, Coffee in Polyphenols. Both have proven benefits in prevention of various heart problems, diabetes, stroke and liver cirrhosis. Probably coffee and tea, both are biggest contributors of Antioxidants in the diet. One must not rely on one or two sources for consuming them in the diet. Berries contain Ellagic acid, an Antioxidant known to kill cancerous cells. Oranges, berries, guava and similar citrus fruits contain Vitamin C, which is believed to be a wrinkle preventing vitamin. Spinach prevents Macular Degeneration of the retina, an untreatable condition of the eyes. Many vegetables prevent Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and Stroke. Similarly, Corn is known to be rich in Lutein, a known Antioxidant which prevents eyes disorders. Therefore, the list is endless, but it is important to know what to add and what to skip rather overloading the diet with supplements.
(Image Courtesy: https://www.extremelabs.co.uk/12-ways-build-muscle-diet/)
What should be the preventive measures? How Antioxidants should be consumed?
This is extremely practical part, which one should know. While this post has largely covered myths and facts about the Antioxidants and supplements, there are some important points to be noted:
- The dietary form is most suitable for the body to take up Antioxidants, therefore, 2 to 3 bright colored fruit servings every day are necessary.
- Avoid supplements and start exercising! This is the best way to trigger the body’s own Antioxidant mechanism.
- Always watch your nutritional part in the meal. One should avoid trans-fats and saturated fats because, they tend to harden arteries and cause heart problems.
- Add supplements, only when if advised for the medical problems, by the registered practitioner.
In conclusion, it is not necessary to add all kinds of Antioxidant rich stuff to the diet plan. Most noteworthy is to be liberal towards the dietary approach. Hence, reserve the Antioxidant supplements for ill subjects, old aged people and children with malnutritional states. I hope this post on the myths and facts about the Antioxidants in food and supplements is liked by you. Wish you all a healthy life ahead!