WHAT ARE ANTIOXIDANTS?
“Antioxidants are substances that can prevent or slow damage to cells caused by free radicals, unstable molecules that the body produces as a reaction to environmental and other pressures.” -- Medical News Today
Free radicals are waste substances produced by our cells as the body processes food and reacts to the environment. Oxidative stress is the result of the body’s inability to process or remove free radicals properly, which consequently harms our cells and body function.
Here are some reasons that escalate the production of free radicals in the body:
- UV exposure
- Cigarette smoke
Many health issues and chronic diseases have been linked to oxidative stress -- cancer, heart disease, stroke, inflammatory conditions, immune deficiency, respiratory diseases and arthritis.
Antioxidants are important to fight off free radical damage in our bodies.
Some of the most popular types of antioxidants are familiar to all of us -- i.e., Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E. However, did you know that there are actually more than 10 types of antioxidants? Here are some other types of antioxidants which you may or may not have heard of:
- Allium sulphur compounds
WHAT ARE THE SOURCES OF ANTIOXIDANTS?
Fruit and vegetables are rich sources of antioxidants. Besides fruit and vegetables, coffee, green tea and dark chocolate are also great sources of antioxidants!
Here are some of our top choices for food high in antioxidants:
- Citrus fruits
- Dark chocolate
- Green Tea
WHY DO YOU NEED ANTIOXIDANTS?
Antioxidants help to strengthen our antibodies and eliminate and fight off infections and acts as a barrier against invading infections, viruses, bacteria and diseases. Antioxidants also help to reduce the severity and duration of respiratory tract infections, especially the common cold. A study found that those who consumed antioxidants were less likely to contract an upper respiratory tract infection compared to those who didn’t.
How does it work?
Besides its massive contribution in fighting off free radicals, antioxidants also support the functions of: -
- Natural killer cells, that eliminate infectious and malignant targets
- Neutrophils, that fight bacterial infections
- Antibodies, that identify and destroy invading threats
- Lymphocytes, that produce antibodies
- B and T cells, which are important immunity defenders
- Cytokines, which regulate our immune responses
Besides boosting immunity and fighting off infections, antioxidants have a big role to play in keeping us healthy.
Antioxidants, which fight off free radicals can prevent many health issues that stem from oxidative damage caused by free radicals such as:-
- Heart disease
- Liver disease
- Deterioration of the eye lens, which causes vision loss
- Damage to nerve cells in the brain, which causes Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease
- Premature aging
A large number of studies were done for antioxidants. Just to name a few, a study found that men who eat plenty of lycopene were less likely to develop prostate cancer; another study found that the incidence of eye lens degeneration and associated vision loss in the elderly could be reduced with the consumption of lutein; while another study found that flavonoids reduced the rates of heart disease in Japan.
BEAUTY AND ANTI-AGING
Did you know that one of the biggest secrets to good skin is antioxidants?
Oxidative stress breaks down collagen, hinders our skin’s natural repair process and triggers inflammation - resulting in fine lines, wrinkles, loose skin, acne breakouts and a blotchy skin tone. 
By scavenging free radicals and reducing inflammation, antioxidants help to:-
- Correct signs of age, giving skin a more youthful glow
- Prevent sun damage, providing protection against sun damage and photoaging
- Brighten skin tone, preventing abnormal skin pigmentation
- Repair skin
- Stimulate collagen production
“Despite advertising claims, almost all available topical formulations contain very low concentrations of antioxidants that are not well-absorbed by the skin,” said Karen E. Burke, MD, in a presentation to the American Academy of Dermatology’s annual meeting in New Orleans.  This is why besides topically applying antioxidants to your skin, it’s also extremely important to consume antioxidants orally.
SM Health Care offers a wide range of products high in antioxidants. Here are our top 5 favourites!
- 56 times higher in iron than spinach
- 30 times higher in chlorophyll than wheatgrass
- 2.5 times higher in vitamin B12 than cow liver
- 2.5 times higher in protein than soya bean
Our increasing use of smartphones and computers makes this a must-have!
Check out more products high in antioxidants that we have on our website by clicking here!