Antioxidants : What Are They?
We’re all looking for hope in a jar when it comes to reducing the signs of aging, and the word antioxidant comes up often as the go-to remedy for all of our aging woes; but what is it, and how does it really help us with finding the fountain of youth?
Free Radicals & Premature Aging:
Antioxidants are chemicals produced by the body to help fight oxidation keeping free radicals in- check. Free radicals are formed when unstable molecules become unpaired with one or more electrons wrecking havoc to the skin’s dermal and epidermal cells. Similar to a sliced apple, free radicals oxidize it, turning it brown and sending it more quickly to rot and disintegrate. These destructive little chemicals, if left uncontrolled, can cause a lot of damage to cells in the body.
Molecules become unstable through lifestyle and environmental factors like solar radiation, stress, smoking, alcohol, and pollution. They generate free radicals’ tendency to inflict damage to our skin causing premature aging and a host of other illnesses in the body.
How Do Antioxidants Protect Us from Free Radical Damage?
Thankfully we have antioxidants! These little do-gooders circulate throughout the system and neutralize any unpaired electrons they come upon, thereby rendering them inactive. If the body is unable to produce enough antioxidants to meet the demands caused by excess stress factors, free radicals continue to multiply opening the door to imbalance and illness. For the skin, dermatologists say that the use of antioxidants not only reduces your wrinkles and aging, but also protects against sun damage, decreases the chances of inflammation and even skin cancer. They directly come into contact with your cells keeping them safe from damage resulting in smoother, hydrated and healthy looking skin.
Where are Antioxidants Found?
Supplements and foods rich in antioxidants support the body’s inherent ability to produce antioxidants and have a marked healthful effect on the body, especially the immune system. Vitamin E has long been recognized as a potent antioxidant, as have vitamin C and beta-carotene. Other nutrients and enzymes, such as lutein, lycopene, selenium, zinc, copper, and idebenone are also considered high in antioxidants. You can take your antioxidants in the form of food, supplements, teas and in topical treatments of skincare.
Foods rich in antioxidants are: grains, nuts, fruits and vegetables, specifically apples, grape seeds, olives, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, blueberries and red wine (red wine is a food...right?)
Herbs rich in antioxidants are : rosehips, green tea, seabuckthorn, sumac, bilberry, cayenne, hawthorn berry, ginkgo and milk thistle, peppermint leaf.