What are Antioxidants?

January 18th, 2012 · 16 Comments · Anti-aging, Antioxidant, Disease Prevention, Heart Health

Don't stress out about free radicals and antioxidants. Find out how these affect the body and the best way support yourself naturally.

Don’t stress out about free radicals and antioxidants. Find out how these affect the body and the best way to support yourself naturally.

It’s funny how many of us have heard of antioxidants and free radicals but we don’t really understand what it all means. Maybe some of the terms used don’t always make sense when describing what happens or maybe we feel like free radicals don’t pose a threat to our bodies right now.

The truth of the matter is that free radicals are everywhere and they pose a very REAL risk to our livelihood. If there was a stream of strangers coming into your home or office, wouldn’t you address it immediately? This is really no different. Free radicals are the strangers and antioxidants act as a polite chaperone, escorting them from your body.

Consequently free radicals are simply oxygen molecules that have either one too many or one too few electrons making them unstable. Unstable molecules can be seen as toxins in our bodies but where do we get these toxins? Everywhere! Daily exposure to common environmental items like air pollution, cigarette smoke, food additives, chemicals, pesticides and dozens of other sources are only an example of where these toxins come from. An antioxidant seeks out and neutralizes these toxins and free radicals in our bodies.

What are Natures Best Antioxidants?

Some of the best antioxidants have been discovered and developed in the last five to 10 years. Antioxidants are substances that may protect your cells against the effects of free radicals. Popular choices are Bilberry, Olive leaf, Ginkgo biloba, Grape seed, Rosemary, and Resveratrol. Read on and learn why these are the best antioxidants!

The power of the best antioxidants are at your fingertips!

Antioxidants help protect your cells against the effects of free radicals.

Bilberry is a powerful antioxidant that has become popular for its positive effects on the eyes. This relative of blueberries contains high amounts of flavonoids called proanthocyanidins and anthocyanin, powerful antioxidants that maintain strength and flexibility in capillary walls thus allowing efficient flow through the capillaries. This increased efficiency in microcirculation is very helpful for the eyes. Bilberry also aids in the regeneration of retinal purple, which is important for night vision.

Olive leaf  has gained popularity due to its versatility, especially as an antiviral, antibacterial and anti-microbial herb. Hydroxytyrosol, oleuropein, vanillic acid and verbascoside are four important antioxidants found in olive leaf. Olive leaf has been shown to deter oxidation of so-called “bad cholesterol” or low-density lipoprotein (LDL.) which may aid in cholesterol levels. Olive Leaf’s antioxidant properties have great potential to prevent free radical generation and stop damage to healthy cells of people involved in vigorous exercise programs, which produces oxidation in the body. Olives, olive oil and olive leaves have been important parts of the Mediterranean culture as food and medicine for thousands of years. This may be an important feature of the Mediterranean diet which boasts minimal heart disease and general good health.

Grape seeds contain Oligomeric Proanthocyanidins (OPC’s) are bioflavonoids and very powerful antioxidants. OPC’s are many times more potent than vitamin C and vitamin E. Grape Seed’s antioxidant activity also donates electrons to vitamin C & E so they regenerate and have more longevity as antioxidants. All these antioxidants can work together to contribute to over-all health in many ways. Like Olive Leaf, Grape Seed’s antioxidant action inhibits the oxidation of low-density lipoproteins (LDL), which may help reduce cholesterol levels and blood pressure. The antioxidants found in Grape Seed have been the explanation for the French paradox (a population that loves cheese, butter, rich sauces, fatty foods and cigarettes yet has a low rate of heart disease). Could it be the red wine?

Ginkgo biloba is a powerful antioxidant!

Ginkgo biloba is a powerful antioxidant for overall brain health!

Ginkgo biloba has been used for thousands of years in Asia to promote longevity. The ginkgo tree is hardy and can survive in adverse environments, like heavily traveled roadsides and can live a very long time (a reflection of its health properties). Like most herbs, ginkgo has many helpful properties, yet its antioxidant effects on circulation and brain function have given this herb its highest praise. Ginkgo’s ability to improve circulation through small blood vessels and capillaries help bring oxygen and nutrients to the brain, heart, and all parts of the body. Research has shown favorable effects on Alzheimer’s disease and other memory challenging health issues.  Ginkgo’s ability to improve circulation through small blood vessels and capillaries, helps bring oxygen and nutrients to the brain, heart and all parts of the body.

Rosemary is a versatile herb rich in antioxidants. Rosmarinic acid is a powerful antioxidant found in rosemary along with about a dozen other free radical scavenging compounds. Rosemary has been used traditionally to enhance and improve memory capabilities, a very good brain tonic when used often, and is valuable when tending to tension headaches. Carnosol and ursolic acid, two chemicals found in rosemary are particularly rich in anti-tumor activities. One study found that rosemary may help impede carcinogens from binding to breast tissues.

Resveratrol is a bit of a new-comer; enjoying recent popularity worldwide for its benefits in reversing the signs of aging and improving the condition of the skin but it is a powerful antioxidant as well. Japanese knotweed extract contains the highest amount of trans-Resveratrol on the planet and offers the greatest protection to the body against free radicals.

Pomegranate is also an antioxidant powerhouse with polyphenols, tannis and anthocyanins that render damage causing free radicals harmless within your body. It’s been said that the hundreds of tiny red seeds within a pomegranate can serve as an appropriate metaphor for all its uses for our health. Aside from the rich amount of antioxidants, pomegranates have been noted for their use in cancer research, to ease menopausal symptoms, for addressing the protein molecules responsible for osteoporosis, and as a being a wonderful heart helper by reducing plaque on artery walls and decreasing LDL (bad) cholesterol.

These are only a sample of antioxidants available on the market today. Some combinations of these powerful ingredients can be found in one capsule. For example, Kroeger Herb has created a product called Resveratrol Six that blends Japanese Knotweed (Resveratrol), Grape seed, Ginkgo biloba and Pomegranate to provide a potent combination of antioxidants to efficiently attack free radicals in your body. (Learn more about Resveratrol Six in this blog post).

While the popularity of antioxidants has soared lately, it’s important to make choices on which products are right for you based on their effectiveness, not popularity. The damage of free radicals are very real in our modern world today and being proactive with your health with the addition of an antioxidant supplement and antioxidant rich foods. Consider adding olives, rosemary, and pomegranate to your diet; these foods and their supplement counterpart are an integral part of good health.


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16 Comments so far ↓

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