Are The Benefits of Antioxidants Really True?
Basically, the short answer is yes – there are so many benefits of
antioxidants, that you seriously need to include them in your diet and
in your skincare products.
The easiest way to explain about antioxidants is to start by saying that
antioxidants reverse the damage caused by free radicals. The
problem is – what are free radicals and why do they need fixing?
So before we look at the benefits of antioxidants,
let’s first take a look at free radicals, so we can understand the
benefits of antioxidants to your health.
What are free radicals?
Free radicles occur naturally in our body and are single oxygen atoms
that lack one outer electron. When two oxygen atoms combine to form
an oxygen molecule, they share one another’s outer electrons, giving
both atoms the right number of electrons.
An oxygen molecule is therefore stable, but oxygen atoms that lack a
full load of electrons in their outer shell are unstable and they search
for other atoms or molecules with the goal of stealing an electron to
give thema full complement of electrons. This leaves the attacked
atom or molecule with one less electron, which in turn, makes it a
new free radical, which itself then hunts for another atom or molecule
from which it can steal an electron.
Unless this process is stopped, it continues to cacade – which can be
a problem, because too many free radicals can result in serious
Some of these conditions include:
Free radicals do play a positive role in your body however, because
they help to remove toxins and waste products from your body, as
well as fighting against viruses. It is when there are too many free
radicals that the problems start.
What is an antioxidant?
This brings us back to antioxidants and why they are so important to
your health. As we just mentioned above, too many free radicals are a
problem, which is where antioxidants come into the picture.
Antioxidants combine with these free radicals, donating one of their
own electrons and making the free radical stable.
What’s really important and vital in this process is that the antioxidant
doesn’t become a free radical when it donates one of its electrons to
the free radical. Just as importantly, the free radical which now has
received an electron from the antioxidant, is no longer dangerous, but
is now stable.
You can appreciate however, that if there are a lot of free radicals
present, your body needs an equal number of antioxidants to make
most of the free radicals stable (or the ones your body doesn’t want).
Normally, with a good diet and a healthy lifestyle this isn’t a problem
and you have sufficient antioxidants to stabilise the unwanted free
A poor diet and lifestyle are the key factors (apart from genetics) that
can accelerate the number of free radicals in your body, resulting in
premature aging and other health issues mentioned above.
Some of these factors include:
Excessive alcohol consumption
Eating fried foods and refined carbohydrates
Over exposure to UV rays
Do you need to eat more antioxidants?
That’s a hard question to answer, because only you know your how
good or bad your diet and lifestyle reaally is and whether you need to
make serious changes.
On the one hand, if you are eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables,
you most probably have a diet naturally high in antioxidants, but if you
smoke or spend an excessive time in the sun, your diet could most
probably do with a boost in antioxidants.
On the other hand and all things being equal, it unlikely to do any
harm if you improve your diet by increasing the amount of fresh fruit
and vegetables you eat, which increases your antioxidants and gives
your body a buffer to attack the unwanted free radicals.
Foods that are high in antioxidants include:
What are superantioxidants?
Super antioxidants are a misnomer, because they don’t exist!
In fact, to our knowledge, there is no way of comparing one
antioxidant with another to know which ones are better than others at
disarming free radicals.
Of course, we understand the benefits of antioxidants, however whilst
there are foods that are very high in antioxidants compared to other
foods, there is no way to classify certain antioxidants as ‘super
Foods high in antioxidants tend to be called ‘super foods’; it’s quite
likely that ‘super foods’ morphed into ‘super antioxidants’. So when
you see antioxidant supplements advertised as ‘super antioxidants’
this advertisement doesn’t mean that their antioxidants are ‘super’.
It’s fair to say that all brands will contain a different collection of
antioxidants and in different concentrations than other brands, but
whether one brand is better than another is subjective.
If you feel that your diet doesn’t supply you with enough antioxidants
to reverse tha damage caused by free radicals – themselves a
result of your poor lifestyle, then you can include antioxidant
supplements in your diet.
Of course, ramping up your supply of natural antioxidants in your diet
and improving your lifestyle is the best solution!