What Are Antioxidants & Why Should You Care?
We’ve all been hearing the buzz about “antioxidants” for a while, and little of it gets deeper than “have more, they’re good for you!” But… why? It’s never too late to ask!
Let us take you past the hype and get down to the science, and talk about what antioxidants can do for your health, inside and out.
First, let’s get down to the science behind it all: Every cell in our bodies, from brain to heart to skin, that utilises enzymes and oxygen to perform its functions is exposed to oxygen free radical reactions. These reactions have the potential to serious damage to the cell if they go unchecked.
“Free radical” is probably another term you’ve picked up with the buzz–in short, free radicals are typically unstable and highly reactive as a result of the unpaired electrons. This is where antioxidants come in. Antioxidants help mitigate the damage of these reactions by providing an electron to the free radicals, stabilising them without destabilising themselves. All this is a natural and inescapable function of our bodies, and as long as it’s in balance, all is well. It’s when things are out of balance between oxidants–free radicals–and antioxidants that we get into trouble and experience something called “oxidative stress.”
The science is still out on the full consequences of oxidative stress, i.e. having more free radicals roaming around than the body has antioxidants to counter them. But theories include oxidative stress’s involvement in diseases ranging from Parkinson’s to Alzheimer’s, gene mutations, chronic fatigue syndrome, heart and blood vessel disorders, and inflammatory diseases. But no matter what the severity, oxidative stress isn’t doing your body any favours, so it’s in everyone’s best interest to maintain an equal balance of antioxidants and oxidants in order to avoid it.
Now on to the practical.. We get what antioxidants are and why they’re important, so how do we keep a better balance? This is where the science starts to intersect with the buzz – antioxidants are abundant in the natural world, and we can do our bodies good both by eating them and applying them topically. For example, take a look at the below list of the fruits and vegetables high in antioxidants.
Antioxidant Fruits & Vegetables
Source: WebMD (http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/10-super-foods)
The best way to get the most antioxidant bang for your buck is to eat these fruits and vegetables with the skin. Some of these antioxidants can also be successfully extracted and absorbed topically to provide direct counters to oxidative stress on the outside–that is, the skin, which is why our Day and Night Creams contain more than a few powerful antioxidant ingredients.
We hope this helps dispel the mystery of why everyone’s so big on blueberries and acai bowls, and what the proven scientific benefits of antioxidants are.
Don’t get overwhelmed by the idea of antioxidants and oxidant stress. What’s important is that you’re looking to achieve balance (which goes for most everything in life), and you should always be working to eat healthy with a diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables. And next time a new fad heavy on the hype and short on scientific explanation comes around, be sure to visit our blog to learn the fact and fiction behind it.