Antioxidants are probably one of the most talked about topics in the health field today. We get it, we need more antioxidants in our diet but what do they actually do for the body and what foods (other than blueberries) can we find them in? Let's take a look.
10 Benefits of Antioxidants
1. Aid in Cancer Prevention
Antioxidants can help the body neutralize and remove free radicals, which have been found to cause cancer. One study has found that the body's overall antioxidants can decline during cancer treatments, meaning antioxidant supplements could help the treatment process.
What are Free Radicals?
Just in case you aren't exactly sure what free radicals are, here is a quick rundown.
Atoms have a specific number of electrons in their outer shell. If electrons are missing, the atom will bond with another atom to complete it's outer shell; in doing so it becomes unstable and creates free radicals. When this process occurs with oxygen molecules, it can create oxidative stress within the body.
2. Heart Health
Antioxidants protect against heart disease and can reduce the risk of a stroke by as much as 50 percent.
3. Brain Health
Antioxidants have been shown to improve memory and reduce the risk of dementia. Antioxidants can also help repair neurons and prevent damage to the brain associated with aging.
4. Inflammation Inside the Body
Antioxidants are loaded with anti-inflammatory properties and can help reduce inflammatory diseases within the body, such as rheumatoid arthritis.
5. Improved Vision
Antioxidants in very high doses can prevent and in some cases reverse vision problems, including macular degeneration.
When I was in 9th grade, I realized I could no longer see to the front of my classroom to read off of the white board. I was diagnosed as near-sighted and given a prescription to get glasses. I wore glasses off and on from that point forward. When I was 25, I began to have cystic acne and read that antioxidant vitamins C, A, and E could help with skin issues; so I began taking multiple capsules of each vitamin every day. A few months later, my skin was clearing up and I noticed that my glasses no longer worked as well as they once had. A trip to the optometrist revealed that my vision had completely corrected itself and that I no longer needed to wear glasses.
Although I am not a doctor and can not say that the antioxidant vitamins are the cause of my corrected vision, I feel certain that they played a very large part in fixing my eye problems.
6. Combat Acne
Antioxidants help fight acne by reducing inflammation of the skin and promoting new skin cell growth.
7. Liver Health
The liver deteriorates due to high amounts of oxidative stress, antioxidants can help restore the natural activity within the liver and reduce oxidative stress.
Pecans contain more antioxidants than any other tree nut! They are jam packed with antioxidant vitamin E.
Antioxidants can help bind urine during a UTI and prevent the growth of additional bacteria. Also, a urinary tract infection causes oxidative stress can put additional strain on the body and deplete antioxidant levels.
9. Boost Muscle Recovery
Exercise puts oxidative stress on the muscles. Antioxidants can aid in tissue repair and reduce oxidative stress on the muscles, making workouts more effective.
10. Defy Aging
Antioxidants can help to delay signs by combating the free radicals that damage cells and cause inflammation.
5 Foods Loaded with Antioxidants
(Other than Blueberries)
Some antioxidants are produced within the body but most of them have to be obtained through diet and when need be, supplements. Choosing to eat whole foods and a well balanced diet can greatly increase the way the your body works and leave you feeling your best.