All About Antioxidants
We know that antioxidants are good for us, but what exactly is an ‘antioxidant’, how do they work, and why are they so important for our health?
As our cells convert food into energy, they create by-products called ‘reactive oxidant species’ or ‘pro-oxidants’.
Pro-oxidants are also made when the body is exposed to toxins, UV radiation, infection, and inflammation. These pro-oxidants can damage our DNA, organs, and tissues1. Basically, when the body is challenged, injured, or burdened in any way, it makes dangerous pro-oxidants that have the potential to cause long term damage and disease.
Luckily, our bodies havecompounds called antioxidants that neutralize the pro-oxidants and heal the damage they may have caused. This microscopic balancing act between damage and repairusing pro-oxidants and antioxidants is called redox balance1.
It can be challenging for the body to keep up with the demand for antioxidants because we are continually inhaling pollution, putting toxins on our skin, eating processed food, and doing hundreds of other actions that create pro-oxidants in the body.If our defences fall behind, we become vulnerable to damage from oxidative stress caused by pro-oxidants. Oxidative stress plays a role in most chronic health conditions, including cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and asthma2. The more antioxidants we have, the better equipped we are to win the ongoing redox battle against oxidative stress.
An antioxidant is anything that can neutralize andclean up the mess caused by pro-oxidants. These include vitamins like A, C and E, detoxifiers in the liver like glutathione, and compounds from plants like flavonoids and phenols1,2. We get most of our antioxidants from vegetables, as well as some from fruits, spices, herbs and proteins1.
Tips for Boosting Antioxidants
- Focus on antioxidant-rich foods. In general, the deeper or brighter the colour of the food, the more antioxidants it contains. Foods that are rich in antioxidants include beets, carrots, kidney beans, broccoli, blueberries, dark chocolate, artichokes, and pecans.
- Variety is key! Every vegetable, fruit, nut, and legume contains different types of antioxidants. The more different types of antioxidants we consume, the better equipped we are to address oxidative stress throughout the whole body.
- Limit oxidative stress on the body. Anything that causes harm or burdens the body creates pro-oxidants that can cause damage to our DNA by oxidative stress. Protect yourself from UV rays, limit alcohol and processed foods, and use chemical-free personal and household products as much as possible.
- Do a detox at least once per year to reduce toxic burden on the body, improve liver function, and shift the balance away from damaging oxidative stress.
OUR OFFERINGS WITH ANTIOXIDANTS
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