Everything you need to know about antioxidants
Their main role is to inhibit oxidation from outside triggers like toxins, poor diet, stress, excessive sun exposure
Post by DR. JAVEED KAKROO on Wednesday, November 16, 2022
What are antioxidants?
Antioxidants are compounds found naturally in many fruits and vegetables. Their main role is to inhibit oxidation from outside triggers like toxins, poor diet, stress, excessive sun exposure. When excessive oxidation occurs, your body produces free radicals that end up damaging your cells. Since your body doesn’t naturally produce antioxidants on its own, getting enough through diet and supplementation is necessary to fight off the onslaught of oxidative stressors that we face in our modern world.
There are actually many well-known nutrients that are considered to be antioxidants, including:
- Vitamins: E, C, A (also known as Beta-Carotene).
- Enzymes: Glutathione, superoxide dismutase, catalases.
- Phytochemicals: Carotenoids, flavonoids, polyphenols.
Thankfully, a lot of these nutrients - specifically polyphenols and vitamins - can be found in abundance in a variety of vegetables and fruits. Some of the most extensively studied fruits include:
- Blueberries + Cranberries: These popular berries have been shown to be highly effective at ridding the body of free radical damage and can increase the body's overall antioxidant levels.
- Bilberry + Chokeberry: Has been shown to significantly increase the concentration of health-supporting polyphenols in plasma.
- Goji berries: Consumed for over 2000 years for their health-promoting benefits, research shows that goji juice supplementation can increase antioxidant markers.
- Mangosteen: This "berry-type" fruit has long been used in traditional medicine and has recently been studied for its role in antioxidant and immune support.
- Pomegranate + Grapes: Pomegranate and grape juice has been found to support optimal cardiovascular health and function.
- Apples: You might be familiar with the phrase, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away." Research supports this age-old wisdom showing that apple polyphenols play a protective role in lowering oxidative stress.
How can this tie into longevity?
While it’s important to support cellular health in the short-term, it also makes an incredible difference long-term as it also plays a role in your overall longevity by preserving telomere length. Telomeres are little cap-like structures on the ends of your chromosomes that are responsible for healthy cell function. As time passes, telomeres become shorter, which leads to aging and chronic disease. In fact, science has discovered that telomere length is directly related to longevity with free radical damage being one of the main contributors to telomere shortening.
(Author is a Microbiologist Certified infection control Auditor, Kidney Hospital Srinagar Jkakroo@gmail.com)