A healthy lifestyle is something that everybody wants to pursue, but one thing that may stop anyone from considering it is how natural solutions can help towards the most common health concerns like illnesses and injuries. This leads to people considering an antioxidant-centric lifestyle to ask, “Do antioxidants reduce inflammation, pain and other maladies?”
What Are Antioxidants?
Antioxidants are naturally occurring compounds that can be found in almost anything, from fruits and vegetables to wine and chocolate, even tea has been said to possess these compounds in copious amounts.
Some of the more popular compounds that are known to belong under the antioxidant umbrella include:
- Vitamins A, C, and E
These compounds are said to help prevent cellular damage by free radicals that are produced by the body in response to viruses, bad bacteria, and other microscopic invaders.
Free radicals are normally a welcome entity inside the body, but the human body does not always know when to stop producing them, often resulting in adverse reactions.
Free radicals are also known as oxidants, and they are produced naturally not just by the body but by external factors as well such as cigarette smoke and alcohol, among other mediums.
An over-concentration of oxidants in the body is then said to cause serious damage to your cellular structure resulting in grave illnesses like cancer.
Main Sources of Antioxidants
As previously mentioned, antioxidants and oxidants both naturally occur and are generated by the human body as a means to counteract the effects of each other. However, some external sources are said to possess high levels of antioxidants which can help promote a well-balanced, healthy lifestyle.
Since antioxidants are technically an umbrella group of compounds and minerals, it should be no surprise that their sources can be ranked depending on the compound that they are said to provide.
Here are a few of the said compounds and their possible sources:
- Beta-Carotene – mangoes, carrots, and spinach
- Flavonoids – tea, citrus fruits, and onions
- Lutein – spinach, cabbage, and kale
- Lycopene – tomatoes and watermelon
- Polyphenols – herbs like thyme and oregano
- Vitamin A – carrots, milk, and liver
- Vitamin C – broccoli, strawberries, and variants of chilli
- Vitamin E – fish oil, nuts, and whole grain
Some Questions About the Benefits of Antioxidants
Most of the sources of antioxidants are naturally occurring and edible which means that you are already consuming antioxidants without you knowing what they really are and what they may do to impact your health. Here are a few questions that seek to clarify some doubts about the health benefits of antioxidants.
Do Antioxidants enhance immunity?
Physicians always tell us to eat lots of fruits and vegetables simply because they contain important minerals and nutrients that can keep the body healthy and may help enhance your immunity. High dosage of vitamins and minerals are said to boost the immune system while antioxidant supplementation is said to contribute to a healthy process of ageing.
Do Antioxidants improve fertility?
Studies to back up this claim is currently limited. However, fertility studies revolving subjects with low sperm count have been known to show significant improvement after being placed in an antioxidant-rich diet. Plus, this may not always be the case as several other factors affect how virile one person is.
Can Antioxidants help keep the skin healthy?
Oxidants, or free radicals, that are externally sourced often come in the form of air pollution which are indirectly absorbed via the skin. This effect plus large oxidation in the skin cells can result in break-outs and other skin-related problems. Vitamins, most notably Vitamin E, are known to help promote skin health and a concentrated form, mixed with essential oils, is often used to treat acne scars.
Do Antioxidants alleviate pain?
Depending on the type of pain, antioxidants may help in reducing it although studies have shown that whatever impact antioxidants bring, it is too small to have an impression on the pain scale. Certainly, these compounds may help with the healing process, but it cannot directly alleviate chronic and major pain.
Can Antioxidants help build muscle mass?
Exercising involves a lot of breathing, and breathing involves taking in a lot of oxygen in the body. This places stress on the body as more oxidants are generated to cope up with the need to replace damaged tissue cells after a workout. Antioxidants, like Vitamin C, may be used to supplement treatments that aim to repair damaged tissue.
Do Antioxidants improve vision?
Vitamin A is known to be a factor in helping to preserve the eyesight, but other antioxidants like Vitamins C and E may also help in this particular system. Other compounds like lutein are currently being touted as a natural substance that can help with macular degeneration.
Do Antioxidants improve cardiovascular health?
Although some forms of antioxidants are known to help promote cardiovascular health, not all of them have impact as great as the others. The compounds that may help improve the cardiovascular system does not always necessarily protect the heart from diseases.
Do Antioxidants reduce inflammation?
How do antioxidants reduce inflammation when inflammation is usually caused by trauma affected on the cells, notably on the dermis? Certain compounds and vitamins are said to have properties that may help lessen inflammation and assist in regenerating cells to replace the damaged ones. These same antioxidant compounds may also help in abating internal inflammation and healing minor forms of injury.
Including Antioxidants in Your Diet
You probably think that since antioxidants can be eaten, you can just go ahead and eat up any fruit and vegetable you can get your hands on, then drink all the milk and tea that is served in front of you. This may be well and good, but do remember that too much of anything is always a bad thing, like oxidants and antioxidants.
Yes, oxidants can damage cells when there is an overabundance inside the body, but guess what? So does having too many antioxidants! Research has shown that increased amounts of certain antioxidants can be detrimental to the body and may even aggravate the health conditions that they were aiming to help improve on.
Always take things in moderation. Given that you are already taking in antioxidants in one form or another, you just need to add a little bit more of this and that to get the perfect balance of antioxidants. These compounds don’t always last for a long time, so expect that you are also releasing some of them back in one way or another.