The term antioxidant is very self-descriptive, but many people do not actually know what it means. Antioxidants quite literally work to prevent the oxidation of other molecules in the body. So, what does this mean for your health? Here is some simple science to sum it up for you: They form when certain molecules interact with oxygen, and they have the potential to damage our cells and other important components of our bodies. Antioxidants act like a little army against these reactions, preventing them from occurring and curbing the formation of free radicals. Free radicals in the body often outnumber antioxidants and wreak havoc on our health; we want to balance out that ratio as best as possible for our health and over wellness. ABC Nutrition wants to share with you just some of the health benefits that your body will experience by limiting the production of free radicals.
A. Clearer Skin – Your skin is highly susceptible to free radicals every single day, and you may not even realize it. For example, every time the sun touches your skin, you are exposed to free radicals. That’s right! Ultraviolet light (or UV rays) are one way that your skin takes in radicals that antioxidants must fight off. Since it would be even more unhealthy to never go outside, we must make sure we get enough antioxidants to balance our skin health to keep it smooth and glowing!
B. Stronger Immune System – Your immune system is your ultimate defense against disease, so a weakened one puts you at huge risk of illness. Without antioxidants, your immune system is vulnerable to free radicals, which will damage your body’s defense against both short and long-term disease and illnesses.
C. Better Mood – A pleasant surprise! Antioxidants are not only important for physical health, but mental health, too. Studies have shown that antioxidants are like antidepressants regarding their ability to regulate hormone levels and activity. Their provision of vitamins and minerals promotes the correct amounts of certain hormones to be secreted and allows the body to fight off depressive symptoms.
So, antioxidants are pretty important! But, how do we make sure that we get enough of them? Berries are a common source of antioxidants that we can easily add to our diets. Blackberries, strawberries, and blueberries are more well-known, while goji and elderberries are other great sources. Kidney beans and artichokes can also provide your daily dose of antioxidants. And best of all, dark chocolate is a sweet source of antioxidants—just make sure just make sure that the chocolate 70% cocoa or more to get its beneficial effects. All these tasty treats filled with free radical fighters? Looks like it’s time to get snacking!