What Does an Antioxidant Do?

What Does an Antioxidant Do?

Every day, the cells in your body are in danger. Infections and viruses target them. Additionally, free radicals may harm your DNA and cells. While some cells are able to recover from the injury, others are unable. 

Free radicals are chemicals that scientists think may have a role in the aging process. Additionally, they could contribute to some health disorders, including diabetes, and heart disease.

Antioxidants are compounds that assist in preventing or reducing the harm that free radicals may cause. Antioxidants are used by your body to counteract free radicals. In this blog, we will get brief information about what does an antioxidant do and how to use it effectively. Keep reading!

What Does an Antioxidant Do?

Understanding Antioxidants

Antioxidants act like the body's defense team. They scour our entire system, searching out and neutralizing free radicals - shaky molecules that damage cells through oxidative stress - which has been linked to disease and aging. But what does antioxidant mean, and how do these substances protect us?


What Does Antioxidant Mean? 

Do you also have questions such as what does antioxidant mean? Well, antioxidants refer to a wide range of substances, such as vitamins C and E, selenium minerals, and flavonoids found in plants. Their primary purpose is combating the oxidative stress caused by free radicals. 

These molecules donate electrons without becoming unstable themselves and thus stop damage occurring through chain reactions of free radicals releasing free radicals that would otherwise continue wreaking havoc in our bodies.


What Can Antioxidants Do for Humans?

Your body's cells go through a lot of chemical interactions. These may sometimes result in byproducts called free radicals. Your body uses free radicals for a variety of purposes. Some are utilized by your body's immune system to combat germs or viruses.

Free radicals may, however, accumulate in your body and result in "oxidative stress." This may harm your cells and have negative health effects.

Stress from oxidation may harm you:

  • Eyes, leading to macular degeneration and cataracts
  • Heart issues that may result in heart failure and hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • The brain as it is responsible for Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease
  • Causing joint issues such as arthritis 
  • Make your lungs prone to asthma and chronic bronchitis
  • In some instances, it can lead to kidney failure as well

Through their neutralization, antioxidants can stop these free radicals' harmful effects. Hence, tackling these instances is something that lies under the queries like what does an antioxidant do


What Are Different Types of Antioxidants?

We have heard about the importance and what does an antioxidant do to tackle different health ailments. According to its mode of action, antioxidants fall into three categories:

Primary Antioxidants: Without a doubt, our bodies manufacture primary antioxidants, which are significant antioxidant enzymes. These natural antioxidant enzymes provide our body's strongest protection against damaging inflammatory responses and free radicals. SOD, glutathione peroxidase (GPx), and catalase (CAT) are the only three main antioxidants.

Secondary Antioxidants: Also referred to as hydroperoxide decomposers, secondary antioxidants work to convert hydroperoxides into non-radical, non-reactive, and thermally stable compounds. They are often employed in conjunction with main antioxidants to provide synergistic stabilizing effects.

The secondary antioxidants include glutathione-s-transferase, ubiquinone, glutathione reductase, and glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase. Iron, copper, zinc, manganese, and selenium also increase the antioxidant enzyme activities.

Tertiary Antioxidants: These come from dietary sources or other sources such as subsequent antioxidants. They work by mending oxidized molecules and their functions (such as certain DNA and proteolytic enzymes).


Amazing Benefits of Antioxidants

What Does an Antioxidant Do and the advantages it offers is a topic widely discussed. Well, there are an array of best antioxidant foods that are beneficial, ranging from pumpkin to blueberries and beyond. The function of antioxidants in the human body is clear-cut despite the term being rather mysterious. Let's examine the advantages.

They Mitigate Oxidative Stroke

A kind of physiological stress known as oxidative stress results from a disparity between the synthesis and build-up of oxygen-reactive species inside cells and tissues. This may cause a gap in the system's capacity to eliminate reactive substances. 

Although this may seem theoretical, studies indicate that oxidative stress may be a factor in the development of conditions such as diabetes, metabolic syndromes, atherosclerosis, and cardiovascular illnesses.

They Aid in the Prevention of Diseases

Oxidative stress is linked to the majority of antioxidants' potential to prevent illness. According to a study, antioxidants may promote healthy cellular function and provide extra protection against illness by lowering oxidative stress. 

They Aid in Vision Health

Increasing the amount of the best antioxidant foods in your diet may significantly reduce your chance of developing cataracts and (AMD) age-related macular degeneration, two serious eye conditions. Indeed, it may also decrease the course of age-related macular degeneration, according to a 2013 research published in Clinical Interventions in Aging. These qualities are also well recognized for beta-carotene and vitamin E. 

They Support Brain Activity

Did you know that the brain is more vulnerable to free radical damage than most other bodily systems because of the quantity of oxygen it consumes for normal everyday functioning owing to its naturally high metabolic activity? Consuming antioxidants regularly is one of the main ways you may defend your brain from this assault. 

In particular, antioxidants may be able to postpone memory loss & other types of cognitive decline. All of this is connected to oxidative stress, which has been linked to memory loss, cognitive decline, and Alzheimer's disease. 

They May Aid in Improvements in Mental Health

Antioxidants may benefit both mental and brain health despite the differences between the two. Studies published in Current Neuropharmacology demonstrate the frequent link between anxiety and depression and oxidative stress. 

Eating a well-balanced diet high in antioxidants is one of the lifestyle adjustments that may be very beneficial to many people, even while it isn't a substitute for appropriate mental health medicine or therapy.

They Can Dump Inflammation

Although inflammation is often misunderstood, it's not necessarily nasty or alarming. Within reason, inflammation really plays a vital role in the body. Your white blood cells use inflammation as a defense mechanism against external illnesses like germs. That does not imply, however, that it is always convenient or required.

Pain in the joints and muscles, as well as headaches, are some of the signs that might indicate inflammation. Antioxidants have a very straightforward mechanism of action: shielding cells from harm may stop undesired inflammatory reactions before they start.

They Advocate Fit Aging Procedures

It's time to dispel the myths surrounding assertions that an antioxidant-rich diet will stop, delay, or even reverse the aging process. Nothing has the scientific ability to stop the aging process. On the other hand, data point to the possibility that antioxidants may promote a normal aging process. 

Antioxidants may help keep the body healthy and active as we age, helping with everything from mental functions like avoiding Alzheimer's and enhancing memory to general disease prevention (and even helping to reconstruct bones).

They Participate in a Healthy Gut Microbiome

Your whole body may be impacted by the state of your stomach. The condition of your gut microbiome may impact all aspects of your life, including your skin and mental health. It is a true microbiome consisting of beneficial bacteria that maintain equilibrium in the body.


Top Antioxidant-Rich Foods to Consume

The majority of natural foods have some antioxidants in them, which may aid in the treatment of a variety of illnesses. In addition to this, you can think about taking certain vitamins to aid you. Let's examine the best antioxidant foods you should be aware of if you wish to naturally increase your intake of antioxidants. 

Berries

These are among the superfruits that are rich in antioxidants. They have various antioxidants linked to preventing heart disease, Alzheimer's disease, and other illnesses. Berries include antioxidants that reduce inflammation, which may help arthritis sufferers feel less pain.

According to studies, fruits such as berries like blueberries and strawberries improve mental health, reduce inflammation, and increase blood antioxidant levels.[1]

Berries

 

Cocoa

Flavanols and other polyphenol antioxidants are abundant in cocoa. Cocoa polyphenols not only have anti-inflammatory properties but also benefit intestinal flora. Cocoa polyphenols decrease the amount of harmful gut bacteria, such as Clostridium perfringens, and boost the body's immune system. 

They also promote the development of beneficial gut microbes, such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium.

Cocoa

Pulses

Pulses are rich in flavonoids and polyphenols, two types of antioxidants. Pulses include lentils, beans, peas, and chickpeas. These antioxidants have anti-allergic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-tumor effects. 

In addition, pulses are high in fiber, protein, and minerals. Pulses are quite adaptable. Chickpeas may be roasted and seasoned in the oven to make a satisfying snack, or they can be used in hummus or a scramble for breakfast.

Pulses

Tomatoes

Lycopene, an antioxidant, is abundant in tomatoes. This pigment that gives tomatoes their color has also been shown to lower blood pressure, prevent arterial hardening, shield the heart, and lessen inflammation. 

The amount of lycopene in cooked tomatoes is greater than in raw tomatoes. Tomatoes may be eaten for breakfast as an omelet or scramble. For a tasty side dish, roast tomatoes in the oven or toss noodles in tomato sauce.

Tomato

Avocado

9.25 grams of fiber, or 33% of the dietary value (DV), & 690 milligrams of potassium, or 15% of the DV, are found in one avocado. Potassium is an indispensable mineral and electrolyte that promotes blood pressure control, muscular contraction, and neuron activity.

Enjoy avocado on toast, sandwiches, salads, soups, and chili, or blend it into smoothies. Avocado may also be used in place of mayo, as the foundation for a creamy salad dressing, in place of butter when baking, or in sweets like dairy-free ice cream or chocolate avocado pudding.

Avacado

Conclusion 

Antioxidants are not just health buzzwords and this blog answers questions such as what does an antioxidant do. They're crucial allies in our body's fight against free radicals and oxidative stress, protecting cells, supporting vital functions, preventing diseases such as Alzheimer's, and encouraging healthier aging. 

As we've explored various types and roles of antioxidants, keep in mind that including more foods rich in antioxidants into your diet could make an enormous difference to your well-being - embrace their power for a happier, healthier, more vibrant life!


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Let us now check out some of the common queries users prefer to look for while learning about antioxidants.

What Are Antioxidants Good For?

A: Numerous illnesses may be prevented by eating a diet rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants prevent or lessen oxidative damage by scavenging free radicals from bodily cells. Global research on antioxidants' protective properties is still ongoing.

What Is the Most Powerful Antioxidant?

A: The most prevalent carotenoid in marine species, astaxanthin, is a xanthophyll carotenoid and one of the most potent naturally occurring substances with exceptional antioxidant activity. 

What Is a Natural Antioxidant?

A: The main component of natural antioxidants is phenolics, which may be found in all sections of plants, including fruits, nuts, seeds, vegetables, leaves, roots, and bark. Recent toxicological research on the administration of synthetic antioxidants has shown several unintended or negative consequences.

Can I Take Antioxidants Everyday?

A: Although antioxidant supplements are generally thought to be beneficial, using them in excess might have negative effects. They might reduce the health advantages of exercise and raise your chance of some malignancies and birth problems.

What Are 3 Antioxidants?

A: Carotenoids and other antioxidants like Vitamins E and C may aid in shielding cells from harm brought on by free radicals. Among the other antioxidants that occur naturally are lignans, flavonoids, tannins, and phenols. The finest sources are plant-based diets.

Do Antioxidants Detox Your Body?

A: Since free radicals may harm our cells, antioxidants are essential for assisting our body's inherent detoxification processes. Oxidative stress results from these dangerous poisons that may enter our bodies via various channels, including the food we consume, the air we breathe, and the items we use.

How Much Antioxidants Per Day?

A: Men are predicted to need a minimum of 11,000 ORAC units per day based on their daily caloric intake of around 2500. With an average daily calorie intake of 1800, women need to consume a minimum of 8,000 units.

What Is the Best Antioxidant to Take Daily?

A: Beta-carotene, Vitamin E, and Vitamin C are three of the main antioxidant vitamins. They are present in vibrant fruits and vegetables, particularly those with shades of blue, purple, red, orange, and yellow. 

What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Antioxidants?

A: They are crucial to several biological processes, such as cell division. They also support the communication between cells and aid in the body's defense against infection. However, excess free radicals may cause major harm to cells throughout the body.

Do Antioxidants Extend Life?

A: Antioxidants don't usually make people live longer. Furthermore, if any antioxidants do really lengthen life, it's often via other mechanisms, such as anti-inflammatory, epigenetic, or mitochondrial function, rather than their antioxidant activity.


References

Miller K, Feucht W, Schmid M. Bioactive compounds of strawberry and blueberry and their potential health effects based on human intervention studies: A brief overview. Nutrients. 2019 Jul 2;11(7):1510.

Disclaimer: These statements have not been assessed by the FDA. The information contained within this page is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to replace the advice or attention of health care professionals.

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