Oxidation is process that naturally occurs our cells on a daily basis. Vitamins A, C, and E, selenium, Lutein, beta-carotene, and lycopene are all antioxidants.
Oxidation is what causes our precious half avocado to turn brown, and why kids struggle to eat their slices of apple in their lunch box once they have turned an unappetising shade of brown. Oxidation also takes place in our bodies. It is a natural response to internal cellular chemical reactions.
Free radicals form in our bodies as a result of daily internal cellular reactions. They also come from outside of our bodies, from environmental pollutants, processed foods and medications, to name a few. Stress is a huge contributor to oxidative stress. Being in a super busy, stressed state seems to have become the ‘new normal’ due to our modern lifestyles.
The more antioxidants that you consume each day from fruits and vegetables, the better. Food sources are the ideal way of including more antioxidants in your life. And the brighter the colour of the food (eg: blueberries, red capsicums, beetroot) the more antioxidants they contain. However, due to our modern lifestyle and environmental factors, we may need to supplement this.
Oxidation àfree radicals à Oxidative damage to cellsà inflammation àillness
Antioxidants found in food are grouped into flavonoids, that are primarily found in plants, and non-flavonoids which are minerals and vitamins.
4000 flavonoids have been identified. These include anthocyanidins found in blueberries and blackcurrants, as well as catechins found in dark chocolate, grapeseed and tea.
Benefits & Uses
Aging well is something we all wish to achieve. Antioxidants are said to support the body through the aging process. Whether it is external (skin) or internal (organs) supporting this natural process though the intake of antioxidants has shown to improve skin condition and support to our organs.
The protective qualities of antioxidants support eyes against free radicals that could potentially lead to degenerative conditions. Antioxidants such as Lutein and Zeaxanthin are particularly beneficial for the eyes.
Improved brain function sounds appealing doesn’t it? Antioxidants have the potential to support healthy ageing, including memory function. The brain uses an abundance of oxygen due to its high metabolic activity. This makes the brain more susceptible to free radical attack. There is strong evidence to suggest that regular intake of berries, rich in antioxidants, is associated with a delay in cognitive decline.