In the ever-evolving landscape of nutrition, “antioxidants” are widely recognized as an essential component of a healthy diet. From acai berries in your morning smoothie to the ketchup on your burger, numerous foods boast antioxidant properties. But what exactly are antioxidants, and why are they so important for your general health? Today we’ll delve into the science to demystify antioxidants with emphasis on two powerful players: Glutathione and NAD+.
Understanding Antioxidants and their Benefits
While antioxidants gained notoriety in the 1990s, our understanding continues to evolve. Antioxidants are compounds found in various foods, particularly fruits and vegetables. They work by defending the body against the oxidative stress – an imbalance of free radicals and antioxidants in your body that is linked to the development of numerous diseases. Your next question might be, what are free radicals? These are highly reactive compounds that can be generated during digestion and exposure to environmental factors.
When you don’t have enough antioxidants to fight back against free radicals, they can damage cells and DNA. When you have enough antioxidants in your body, they help to prevent this damage and mitigate the risk of conditions such as cancer, heart disease, and neurodegenerative disorders. Studies even show a 21% lower risk of mortality in individuals with a high antioxidant consumption.
How to Boost Your Antioxidant Intake
- Diversify Your Diet: Include colorful fruit and veg, leafy greens, and antioxidant packers berries to your diet.
- Include Antioxidant-Rich Foods: Add nuts, seeds, whole grains, and green or herbal teas.
- Embrace Healthy Fats: Use extra virgin olive oil as your primary cooking oil to benefit from its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It’s also important to stock up on fatty fish such as salmon and mackerel..
- Turmeric: Incorporate turmeric into your dishes to reap the benefits of its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound, curcumin.
- Antioxidant-Rich Herbs: Fresh Herbs: Include herbs like cilantro, parsley, and basil in your meals for added flavor and antioxidants. If you’re a fan of garlic, don’t be afraid to use it liberally in your cooking to benefit from its antioxidant and immune-boosting properties.
- Enjoy Dark Chocolate: You’ll be happy to know that indulging in moderate amounts of dark chocolate (with at least 70% cocoa) is a tasty source of antioxidants!
- Stay Hydrated with Antioxidant Beverages: Swap out sugary beverages for green tea and create antioxidant-infused water by adding slices of fruits like berries, citrus, and cucumber.
- Limit Processed Foods: Minimize processed and refined foods, which may lack the diverse antioxidants found in whole, unprocessed foods.
At Terra Health Essentials, we recommend two supplements in particular for upping your antioxidant intake.
- Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant that serves as a detoxification powerhouse, eliminating harmful substances like heavy metals. It also boosts the immune system to help keep you protected from illness and infection.
- NAD+ plays a crucial role in cellular energy production and repair. This coenzyme helps to convert nutrients into energy, supporting overall cellular function. Beyond energy production, NAD+ contributes to DNA repair and cell membrane maintenance, promoting longevity and slowing down the effects of aging.
A Whole-Body Approach is Key
Now that you understand more about antioxidants and how to increase your intake, it’s important to also note that this goes beyond just dietary choices; it’s also about lifestyle and mindset. Incorporating regular physical activity into your routine can also enhance the benefits of antioxidants. It not only promotes overall well-being but also stimulates the production of antioxidants within your body.
Additionally, managing stress levels is crucial, as chronic stress can contribute to oxidative stress. It can really help to incorporate practices like meditation, yoga, or mindfulness tools into your routine to ward off against stress-induced free radicals.
By increasing your intake of antioxidants as part of an overall journey towards better health, you’ll get the best results possible.