There is so much information these days about anti aging and antioxidants. But what is all the hype about? What are antioxidants anyway, and what do they have to do with aging?
Antioxidants are substances that prevent or slow down oxidation. Oxidation is the process of unstable oxidized particles, peroxides or free radicals, being produced by the metabolism process, pollutants, food and smoking. This oxidation is a major contributor to the aging process. Antioxidants block these free radicals from ravaging tissues and cells, developing multiple health issues, and causing premature aging.
Antioxidants have different functions throughout the body. It is, therefore, important for optimum results to ensure that you consume a broad spectrum of these age defying agents. Their main function is to ensure that the hemoglobin in the cells binding the oxygen. Any lack, therefore, may cause the eventual rupture of the cell walls, causing the hemoglobin to leak out.
To explain how each of them is unique in their function and importance, here are some of the most powerful antioxidants:
Vitamin C: Its main functions are the maintenance of the adrenal glands and the brain, as well as the production of collagen and cellular energy. Even in small quantities, it protects the body from oxidative damage.
Vitamin E: Its job is to keep the body's fats from oxidization by free radicals. In other words, it will prevent these fats from turning into bad cholesterol, causing clogged arteries and cardiovascular disease. That, together with its skin healing properties, makes it a potent anti-aging agent.
Flavonoids, or bioflavonoids: These are potent immune boosters, fighting off viruses, carcinogens and allergens. They give plants their colorful hues and are mainly found in certain fruits, herbs and vegetables, such as green tea and citrus fruits.
Carotenoids, including beta-carotene and lycopene among others, produce the orange pigment in carrots and red in tomatoes. The beta-carotene in carrots is effective for maintaining and improving good eyesight, and tomatoes have prostate cancer fighting properties. Lutein is a carotenoid found in spinach, and is also great for the eyes as well as helping to prevent lung cancer.
There are several dozen carotenoids in the foods that you eat, mainly in fruit and vegetables, and most of these have antioxidant characteristics. Lycopene is considered the most potent kind.
CoQ10: is your body's energy production system, and contributes to vital activities, such as muscle contractions and protein production. It helps you fight fatigue, lose weight, and strengthen your immune system.
Turmeric: is used in treating Alzheimer's disease, memory problems, arthritis, indigestion and cancer.
The B vitamins: are eight water-soluble vitamins that are important for cell metabolism, and promote cell growth and division. They also maintain muscles and skin, and improve both the immune and nervous systems. Together, they help ward off stress, depression and cardiovascular disease.
Folic acid and folate: These are forms of the water-soluble Vitamin B9 found in leafy vegetables, peas, fortified cereal, sunflower seeds and liver. They are necessary for the production and maintenance of new cells, especially during childhood and pregnancy. Folate is required for DNA production, preventing anemia and cancer.
Alpha-lipoic acid: Its main function is to convert carbohydrates into energy. It helps fight diabetes, brain diseases, including Parkinson's and epilespy.
This list is far from complete, but it will give you an idea of how many antioxidants there are, why they are so important, and why you need to have so many different ones to prevent the onslaught of aging.
There is substantial scientific evidence that vitamins and antioxidants derived from natural sources are more readily absorbed and assimilated by the human body. In other words, compounds that have been chemically synthesized in the laboratory may act very differently inside the human body than those extracted from natural sources.
Colorful fruits, including pomegranate and blueberries, vegetables like carrots or tomatoes, and whole grains are good sources of natural antioxidants. Other common dietary sources of antioxidants include sweet potatoes, spinach, cantaloupe, and mangoes. Red wine, chocolate, green tea, olive oil, bee pollen and many grains are alternative sources as well.
The research is done; the verdict is out! You can now age gracefully and fitfully with a daily potent broad spectrum anti-aging antioxidant cocktail!
About the Author
Ann Stewart, author, inspirational writer and wellness coach, shares tips on how to fight off disease and feel your best in her weekly newsletter, Youth Makeover