The word “antioxidants” has probably been heard by everyone who is even a little interested in their health. This concept is used to promote cosmetics, dietary supplements, but not everyone knows how antioxidants actually work and how they affect the human body.
Oxidation is a process that constantly occurs in the human body. The destruction of cells is the fault of free radicals, the electrons of which tend to pull some structures of the body towards themselves. A chain of destructive processes is formed from such electrons, as a result of which the atoms are destroyed. But the human body is a balanced system in which, along with oxidation, recovery processes take place. But the excess amount of free radicals disrupts the recovery process, which leads to early aging and disease.
Then antioxidants come to the rescue – substances that have the ability to inhibit oxidation. These include: vitamin E, ascorbic acid, beta-carotene, lycopene (found in tomatoes), polyphenols, tannin (found in coffee, tea and cocoa), anthocyanins.
Antioxidants can both inhibit the work of free radicals already in the body and prevent their formation. In advertisements, it is often silent that antioxidants, in fact, do not know how to rejuvenate the body – they just prevent early tissue wear.
Antioxidants are found in dietary supplements and multivitamins, but their main source for humans is natural products. They are found in berries, both fresh (sea buckthorn, blueberries, grapes) and dried fruits (prunes, dried apricots). Also, antioxidants are concentrated in nuts, artichokes, herbs and spices, beans. Among the drinks, the following are distinguished by the amount of antioxidants: tea, coffee, cocoa and red wine.
However, in the case of antioxidants, more is not necessarily better. Free radicals protect the body from infections by destroying disease-causing organisms; antioxidants, in turn, impair the body’s absorption of iron, calcium and zinc. In addition, scientific research on synthetic antioxidants has not confirmed their absolute benefits for the human body.
In the end, the answer is simple – a balanced, healthy diet is the only way to supply your body with the right amount of antioxidants. Additional sources of antioxidants will require justification in the form of chronic diseases, bad habits, or work in hazardous industries. Taking dietary supplements requires consultation with your doctor, because ignorance of scientific features can only harm your body. A healthy lifestyle helps the human body to cope with the balance of antioxidants and radicals on its own.