In this blog we will be discussing the importance of nutritional antioxidants, what they are, and ways to get more of them in your body!
When you think about what you ate over the last couple of days, what sticks out the most? The fruits, vegetables, protein? Did you think about how to get more antioxidants in your diet and if so, why?
Let’s quickly touch in on what antioxidants are and why they are important. In order to understand what antioxidants are, we first need to understand what free radicals are. This is because antioxidants are defined as substances that neutralize free radicals. Free radicals are highly unstable molecules that are made by the body as part of normal metabolism and also after exposure to environmental toxins such as air pollution. Free radicals can damage our cells and even DNA.
One way of thinking about them is they are part of a biological chain reaction and as long as that chain reaction is going on the longer they have the potential to cause damage. The antioxidant neutralizes the free radical and therefore ends the chain of damage that is occurring. This is why antioxidants play a role in protecting human health. They protect our cells!
When there is an imbalance between the load of free radicals and the amount of antioxidants to neutralize them our cells can experience oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is associated with accelerated biological aging, cancer, heart disease, and neurological diseases. Therefore it is important that we try to avoid oxidative stress. This can be done by reducing chronic environmental damage such as mold toxins in your home and life and by keeping your antioxidant status high.
Now that we know what antioxidants are and why they are so important in protecting health, lets discuss ways of increasing ones antioxidant status. The most powerful antioxidant in our bodies is produced by our body. It is glutathione and it is the primary way the body protects itself. Although we produce it ourselves, we should not take it for granted. We often don’t produce enough of it and there are ways we can nourish it so that our body has what it needs to protect us. It is made with Sulphur compounds that can be found in foods like eggs, onion, garlic, watercress, and Brussel sprouts. This should be combined with eating foods that are high in dietary antioxidants such as vitamin C and selenium. This is because these dietary antioxidants can reduce the load that glutathione has to carry and therefore spare it so that you have more of it.
Let’s talk more about dietary antioxidants and other strategies for increasing antioxidant status. When it comes to dietary antioxidants there are direct antioxidants such are vitamin c, selenium, and vitamin a, and then there are foods with antioxidant properties. These substances can sometimes be converted to direct antioxidants and sometimes stimulate cells to produce more antioxidants, and oftentimes have anti-inflammatory and cell protecting qualities that complement and fortify antioxidant status in the body.
These substances are easier to spot in the grocery store because they tend to have bright colors such are the orange in carrots and sweet potatoes, the purple cabbage, and purple and green in kale, the red in strawberries, the deep blue purple in blue and blackberries and so on. These foods are excellent at supporting human health and we highly recommend trying to pack your grocery cart with them. They also tend to have direct antioxidants in them as well.
Another interesting source of these compounds are the spice rack. Turmeric, Rosemary, Sage, and Clove are excellent examples of powerful spices that are packed with nutrition and antioxidant properties. These tiny additions to our plates offer more than just a boost of flavor. They increase the nutrient profile exponentially as well. These little flakes, powders and leaves pack potent polyphenolic compounds that have major antioxidative properties, which can protect the body against disease and reduce inflammation and oxidative stress–which are contributors to aging and free radical damage.
A straightforward way to get in more of the benefits of these healthy “sprinkles” is to take them in supplement form–especially when we’re forgetting to use them at dinnertime and instead opting for a simple salt-and-pepper combo. Not to mention sometimes our spices are old and outdated and do not offer as much nutrition as they could!
Supplementing antioxidants can be tricky because we want to be sure we don’t provide such high doses of some that those doses block the absorption of others that are protective in other ways. To accomplish this we recommend the scientifically formulated blend, Ultimate Antiox Full Spectrum, a blend of some of nature’s most powerful antioxidants including herbs and spices to help the body combat cellular stress.
The ingredients in this formula were specifically selected for their protective ability to maintain the function and integrity of both water-based and lipid-based body structures and compounds – including cell membranes (protective outer layer of cells), LDL cholesterol, proteins, and enzymes – against oxidative stress from free radicals. When these body tissues become damaged, they lose their ability to perform their biochemical functions properly.
Ultimate Antiox Full Spectrum contains vitamins A, C and E (all antioxidants), grape seed extract, curcumin, resveratrol, garlic, lutein and lycopene, rosemary, clove, basil, allspice and sage, quercetin, rutin, and ginkgo biloba. Taking one per meal sets us up to combat oxidative stress and contribute to the health of our eyes, cardiovascular system, fertility, brain and cognitive function, balanced lipids, and more.
You can find it at our Lafayette location or can purchase it here.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.