What are Antioxidants?
Antioxidants are substances that are capable of counteracting the damaging (albeit normal) effects of oxidation in human tissue. Antioxidants are nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals, as well as enzymes. They are believed to play a role in preventing the development of many chronic diseases that affect millions of Canadians.
Why Are Antioxidants Important?
Oxidation (often called oxidative stress or free radical damage) occurs when harmful molecules known as free radicals outnumber the amount of protective molecules. Free radicals are highly unstable – they possess either too many or too few electrons and they scavenge your body to either steal or donate electrons to try and survive. This scavenging is what damages your cells and can cause damage to your cells. A simple example of oxidative stress can be seen in rusting iron, a browned apple or brown spots on your skin from sun damage (sun spots).
It is impossible for us to completely avoid free radicals and some develop through normal day-to-day living like pollution, metabolism, and exercise. However, there are large amounts of free radicals (smoking, excessive alcohol) that can be avoided by adhering to a healthy lifestyle and some that we can control our exposure to (x-rays, excessive sunlight).
Natural Sources of Antioxidants
A terrific and delicious way to get your antioxidants is from food! Antioxidants are found naturally in a large variety of fresh foods and roots, especially foods that are very bright and colourful, like raspberries, turmeric, beetroot, plums, ginger, artichokes and spinach. Examples of conventional antioxidants that are easy to get from organic foods are beta-carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, or selenium. It should be noted that it is important to ensure your fresh foods be from an organic source that uses nutrient –rich, chemical-free soil to guarantee that these nourishing antioxidants are in fact in the food you are eating. If you feel you require extra amounts of these nutrients, there are many supplements available at the store that you may wish to take for extra peace of mind. Antioxidants are also available from organic nuts and seeds and of course, a B.C. favourite – salmon.
There are other antioxidants that are less readily available in foods that can boost your body’s free-radical fighting power. Examples of these are resveratrol, grape seed, coenzyme Q10, astaxanthin, pterostilbene, lutein, elegiac acid (from green tea), and quercetin.
Lifestyle Markets is proud to carry dozens of high quality, well-researched and innovative products designed to help boost your body’s natural antioxidant levels. We have combination products and single sourced products, many of which are derived from non-GMO, organic food.