Antioxidants or should we call them the ”Free Radical Feeders”? We’ve all heard about how the body needs antioxidants but have you ever wondered why your body needs them? What role do they play? Do they actually heal the body or is it just a marketing hype? Well, let’s understand what antioxidants are and whether it is safe to take them as supplements and how you can get them from natural food.
Why Do We Need Antioxidants?
Free radicals are waste substances produced by cells as the body processes food. They are produced especially while the body processes refined and processed foods, trans fats, artificial sweeteners and certain additives. Smoking, environmental pollution, exposure to chemicals such as pesticides and drugs and even chemotherapy can produce them. If the body cannot remove free radicals efficiently, oxidative stress can result and harm cells and body function. Antioxidants can protect against the cell damage that free radicals cause, by oxidative stress.
What Are Some Natural Sources?
Each antioxidant serves a different function .This is why it is important to have a varied diet. The best sources of antioxidants are plant-based foods, especially brightly coloured fruits and vegetables.
To obtain some specific antioxidants naturally, try to include dairy produce, eggs, liver, nuts, seeds, corn and mushrooms in your diet. The following tips could help increase your antioxidant intake:
- Include a fruit or a vegetable every time you eat meals and snacks
- Have a cup of green or matcha tea every day
- Use turmeric, cumin, oregano, ginger, clove and cinnamon to spice up the flavour and antioxidant content of your meals.
- Snack on nuts and seeds, especially Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, and dried fruit, but choose those with no added sugar or salt
What About Supplements?
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) warns against high doses of antioxidant supplements as they can be harmful. Antioxidant supplements may also interact with some medications. It is important to speak with a health provider before using any of these products.
However, there may be some benefit for people at risk of age-related macular degeneration, but it is essential to seek advice from a doctor about whether to use supplements, and which ones to use. The best way is to have it in its natural, available form. If you are lacking in fruit and veggies, start by adding two servings of fruits and two to three servings of veggies in your daily routine. Avoid Supplements unless prescribed by your healthcare provider.
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