Perhaps you read it on a product label, heard about it on social media from your favorite celebrity, or were advised to include them in your diet by a well-meaning health-conscious friend who swears by antioxidants to boost the immune system. From breakfast cereals, chocolate and supplements to skin care, antioxidants seem to be the rage of the 21st Century. But, what are antioxidants and why are they so popular?
Antioxidants are organically occurring chemicals found essentially in plants that help to control cellular activities and protect the body from free radicals. Next we might wonder what free radicals are. In a nutshell, they are oxidative stress-causing chemicals. Over time, oxidative stress can harm cells, tissues, and proteins, raising the risk of chronic diseases like Alzheimer's, CFS, cancer, diabetes, Parkinson's disease, and heart diseases. Therefore, a diet rich in antioxidants is important under preventive healthcare regimes.
Health benefits of antioxidants include eye health, inflammation reduction, cholesterol reduction, and immune system support. It's vital to keep in mind that no single antioxidant can operate as a panacea. Antioxidants are needed to conduct and sustain a variety of processes in the body. A plate of organic food that looks colourful would be ideal to get the benefits of antioxidants. Vitamins and minerals are found in various colours of fruits and vegetables. Eating a well-balanced, diversified diet that includes plenty of fruits, veggies, whole grains, and fat would be the ideal ‘colourful plate’.
Antioxidant supplements should be moderately taken as it might not entirely diminish oxidative stress. The best way to get the health benefits of antioxidants would be through natural antioxidant-rich foods that can be incorporated into daily meals. It can produce long-term anti-inflammatory benefits while strengthening the immune system as a preventive measure against illnesses.