Seems these day you can’t turn on the TV or open up a magazine without seeing an ad touting the latest health product that is “rich in antioxidants.” It is a long word, sometimes difficult to comprehend, but it certainly reads as though it can be beneficial to the body, correct? Indeed, antioxidants are found in a number of dietary supplements designed not necessarily for weight loss, but for overall good health. Yet, before you decide to go head first into a daily antioxidant regimen, it is suggested to know exactly what antioxidants do, where they are found, and whether they truly are helpful to the body.
Antioxidants are generally defined as those products which, naturally, prevent or lessen the body’s oxidation. Oxidation refers to the addition of oxygen, and consequent lessening of hydrogen, from an element – be it the body or something else. Consider silver, for example. When silver or other precious metals are exposed to too much oxygen, they can tarnish and lose their original beauty. Now imagine something similar happening to your body. We need oxygen to survive, yes, but the air we breathe is not one hundred percent pure. An intake of too much pure oxygen can actually cause toxicity.
Antioxidants, therefore, apply a balance by guarding the body from damaging elements. With regards to alternative health, antioxidants are believed to purify the blood. Human blood contains a certain amount of iron, which is broken down by oxygen. Getting back to our metals analogy, metal exposed to too much oxygen can rust. If you can imagine this rust in your bloodstream as the iron is broken down, you will better understand the presence of free radicals in your body that can cause damage. Antioxidants work to get rid of these free radicals and keep you healthy and active.
Where to find antioxidants
Unfortunately, it is believed that antioxidants do not occur enough naturally in our bodies, hence the recent explosion of supplements and products claiming to be high in antioxidants. Many foods, however, are naturally rich in antioxidants and make good additions to a healthful diet. Just a few foods include:
Acai – This exotic purple berry is indigenous to the Amazon rainforest, and used in drinks, energy bars, powders and shakes. Brazilians have used acai for years as a healthful supplement for foods.
Blueberries – These tart little berries are good for more than garnishing cereals and filling pies. Blueberries are rich in antioxidants and provide a good source of vitamins.
Dark Cocoa – The darker the chocolate, the higher the health properties. While it isn’t recommended to eat too much of it, an occasional bite can boost your antioxidant level.
For a balanced diet with antioxidants to assist well-being, consult a physician or diet professional to see what you need to eat, and how much you need daily. By knowing what is good for your body can you improve your overall well-being.