Antioxidants: What They Do
You’ve likely seen a ton of products advertising the use of antioxidants. They range from foods to health supplements and are primarily associated with good health. Mainly, antioxidants protect your body’s cells from free radicals. But unfortunately, medical professionals tie free radicals to things like cancer, heart disease, and other unwelcome health conditions.
Having more antioxidants in your body, whether through diet or by taking supplements, can slow cell damage and prevent free radicals from getting to the cells. While the body produces some antioxidants naturally, getting as many exogenous antioxidants as possible is usually better to prevent and slow the development of free radicals.
Antioxidants are an essential piece of the puzzle when it comes to long life and healthy living. Let’s explore what antioxidants are and how you can start putting more of them into your body to keep your cells as strong as possible.
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What Are Free Radicals?
Your cells make free radicals when they react with the environment around them. You can think of free radicals as the waste that cells create whenever they process food or react to things in your body.
If too many free radicals are present, your cells can experience oxidative stress, damaging them and inhibiting their ability to function. So what causes there to be too many free radicals? Things like infection, inflammation, pollution, and unhealthy living habits typically create conditions whereby free radicals thrive.
For example, smoking, being overweight, extended UV ray exposure, and other habits can increase the number of free radicals in the body and damage your cells.
Getting Help From Antioxidants
Thankfully, there are ways to fight back against free radicals to keep your cells in better shape. Of course, people should do their best to quit smoking, live a healthy lifestyle, and get regular medical checkups. But even healthy people should look for ways to add more antioxidants into their systems.
Antioxidants help prevent too much oxidative stress linked to arthritis, stroke, immune system deficiencies, chronic inflammation, and other problematic conditions. In addition, antioxidants reduce the risk of problems caused by too much oxidative stress in the body. Early studies into antioxidants show that they look for and eliminate free radicals.
There are hundreds of ways to get antioxidants. Some of the most common include:
Vitamin C, E, & A
Eating a lot of berries and plant-based foods is a great way to add natural sources of antioxidants. It’s one of the reasons why so many doctors and nutritionists recommend eating a varied diet of healthy foods. Antioxidants are found in fruits, vegetables, eggs, dairy products, rice, whole grains, and beans.
These days, food companies are making it easier than ever to find antioxidants. They know people are looking for them, so they label and advertise foods that are high in antioxidants to inform customers better.
Eating Foods Raw Is Better
In general, eating raw sources of antioxidants is better for you because they deliver more antioxidants to the body. Cooking spinach, for example, can lower how many antioxidants are in the leafy green. Whenever possible, consume raw food to get as much as you can. This is a lot easier when you’re getting your antioxidants from blueberries, oranges, apples, and other fruits.
Not all antioxidant sources can be eaten raw. This is one of the reasons why eating a varied diet is so crucial. When you’re eating whole foods, you increase the odds of lowering oxidative stress in your body.
Eating more fruits and vegetables is good for you, even if you’re not focused on getting more antioxidants. For example, Eating more fruits is generally known to improve immune response, is beneficial for the skin, and is much better for you than eating processed foods. Vegetables are not as calorie-dense as most carbohydrates, so you’re less likely to gain unwanted weight when you replace unhealthier foods like chips, bread, potatoes, etc., with vegetables like broccoli, spinach, carrots, and cucumbers.
Peptides & Antioxidants
Peptides are short chains of amino acids that trigger a specific action in the body. Research in rodent models shows that BPC-157 neutralizes oxidative stress markers like nitric oxide and malondialdehyde. In addition, BPC-157 is a peptide known to be a powerful antioxidant and can reduce the production of reactive oxygen species in the gastrointestinal tract. By reducing oxidative stress, the body’s cells function better and last longer.