Antioxidants are chemicals that help clean up damaged cells in our bodies known as free radicals. These miracle chemicals are released from the food we eat and digest, and travel through bloodstream and into our cells where they do the work on free radicals. Antioxidants are usually packed with nutrients that are not only good for your body, but also make you age gracefully.
Benefits of Antioxidants
(i) Antioxidants help with anti-aging
Free radicals can contribute to the breakdown of our collagen from long exposure to harmful UV rays. By enriching our diet with food packed with antioxidants, it can help determine how healthy our aging process can be.
It is said that 80% of aging is caused by being under exposure to the sun without proper protection. Antioxidants act as free radical scavengers by directly destroying free radicals before it causes more age-related damage, including skin wrinkling.
(ii) Antioxidants prevent skin cancer
Extreme cases of ultraviolet radiation can risk the development of skin cancer. In fact. many studies have shown that consuming dietary antioxidant can reduce the risk of cancer in humans.
Free radicals can damage your DNA and alter it, hence it becomes cancerous. By consuming foods high in Vitamin C and E, it can provide protection against UV radiation and carcinogenesis, and repair skin damage faster.
(iii) Antioxidants support a healthy immune system
As we age, there is a noticeable drop in our immune system. Our body still produces as many immune cells but as we reach old age, it does not function as well.
Dietary supplements such as Vitamin C helps produce natural killer cells—the White Blood Cells. These cells increase interferon which coats cell surfaces to prevent the entry of any virus. Meanwhile, Vitamin E has been shown to make antibodies to fight specific germs.
A variety of antioxidants, whether via foods or creams, may well improve the health and quality of your skin and body. Here are our top picks of the most effective ones:
Seven best antioxidant recommendations (other than berries)
The rich and creamy taste of avocados make it a versatile fruit that can add a twist to many traditional recipes. One whole fresh avocado contains lutein and zeaxanthin which helps absorb any harmful rays that can harm your vision.
70% of the antioxidants in an avocado is in the seed. It contains flavanol, an antioxidant powerful enough to help prevent and reduce the growth of tumours. You can partake in the goodness by eating it fresh or dried. Cut the seed into quarters and grind it into fine powder to mix into your smoothies or green juices.
2. Bok Choy
A huge part of the Asian cuisine, bok choy can be found in any major supermarket in around the world. It contains high amounts of phenols and other phytonutrients which is part of over 70 antioxidants in this vegetable alone. Its richness of antioxidants can help prevent and decrease oxidative stress to lower cancer risks.
Bok choy is a popular choice for weight-watchers as it falls under the “zero calorie” food item, which when eaten would add no extra calories to your diet and aids in weight loss.
Calling all caffeine lovers!
Whether it’s green or black, they come from the same tea plant, Camellia sinensis which is rich in polyphenols. They have about eight to 10 times of polyphenols found in other fruits and veggies. This miracle ingredient has been effective in reducing skin cancer if you drink four to six cups a day.
Just look at some of the world’s top tea-loving nations like China and Japan, they have been known to have fewer cases of heart diseases than most western countries.
Dark chocolate, please? You’d heard the phrase, the richer the cocoa, the better it is for you. But don’t just start running to the supermarket and loading up your cart full with chocolate, keep it at a healthy ounce.
Dark Chocolate packs up active antioxidants including polyphenols, flavanols, and catechins, among others. It has more antioxidant activity than other fruits tested. Studies have shown that people with high blood levels of flavonoids have a much lower risk of heart disease, lung cancer and type 2 diabetes.
5. Vitamin A
You know the drill: cleanse, tone, moisturise and sun protection. There are a few nutrients that your skin really needs, and one of them being Vitamin A. Retinol, a derivative of vitamin A is effective enough to turn back the clock on aging. Researchers found that this active ingredient is powerful enough to penetrate deep into the skin to stimulate collagen production and restore the elastic fibres that keep skin tight and wrinkle-free.
The next time you buy over-the-counter prescription or skincare, look out for retinol in the ingredient list to smooth fine lines and improve your skin tone in the process.
6. Vitamin E
Vitamin E levels in our bodies can decrease with age. However, since vitamin E is now readily available in capsule and cream forms, it becomes an ingredient that can be applied topically to make up for it.
Vitamin E or commonly listed as tocopherol or tocotrienols, can have great skin benefits. When vitamin C and E are paired together in the right ratio, it can speed up the skin’s natural repair and inhibit any further damage.
It is no wonder that vitamin E is often found in facial moisturisers, creams and lotions known to treat dry skin and stretch marks. Vitamin E oil can be rather thick so if you want something a little easier (and less messy) to use, vitamin E creams are great alternatives.
7. Bokbunja Wine
Bokbunja is a luscious fruit wine made from the natural freshness of Korean wild black raspberries. The Korean association claims that the anthocyanins in the berries, known for giving that deep red tinge to the wine, are a good source of antioxidants that slows down aging and cell damage. Several studies have even shown that it has the potential to prevent cancer, diabetes and bacterial diseases.
So, the next time you’re looking to treat your loved ones to something yummy, healthy, and makes you a teeny giddy, you know what to get (wink!).