Why do we need Antioxidants?

Oxidative stress has been implicated as a cause of numerous conditions.

We all know that oxygen is essential for sustaining life, but did you know that it is toxic at high concentrations? Studies have shown that, at concentrations higher than those normally found in air, oxygen can be harmful.

When oxygen is metabolised, it creates 'free radicals' which steal electrons from other molecules, causing damage. The body can cope with some free radicals and, in fact, needs them to function effectively. However, if free radicals overwhelm the body's ability to regulate them, a condition know as oxidative stress ensues.

Oxidative stress has been implicated as a cause of numerous conditions including some cancers, heart disease and the aging process. It appears that, as we age, our body becomes less able to cope with oxidative stress. There needs to be a balance between free radicals and antioxidants for proper physiological functioning.

Based upon a growing body of evidence, it appears that aging is at least partially a product of accumulated damage to cells, tissues and organs caused by free radicals. Therefore, it would seem, there would be much to be gained from adding antioxidants to our diets.

It seems logical that an increase in dietary antioxidants should allow the restoration of the antioxidant defense system and thus the quality and duration of life. In fact, people with diets high in antioxidant-rich foods, namely fruit and vegetables, generally are less susceptible to many diseases and often enjoy longer lives.

Some good sources of antioxidants include:

  • Allium sulphur compounds – leeks, onions and garlic
  • Anthocyanins – eggplant, grapes and berries
  • Beta-carotene – pumpkin, mangoes, apricots, carrots, spinach and parsley
  • Catechins – red wine and tea
  • Copper – seafood, lean meat, milk and nuts
  • Cryptoxanthins – red capsicum, pumpkin and mangoes
  • Flavonoids – tea, green tea, citrus fruits, red wine, onion and apples
  • Indoles – cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower
  • Isoflavonoids – soybeans, tofu, lentils, peas and milk
  • Lignans – sesame seeds, bran, whole grains and vegetables
  • Lutein – leafy greens like spinach, and corn
  • Lycopene – tomatoes, pink grapefruit and watermelon
  • Manganese – seafood, lean meat, milk and nuts
  • Polyphenols – thyme and oregano
  • Selenium – seafood, offal, lean meat and whole grains
  • Vitamin C – oranges, blackcurrants, kiwi fruit, mangoes, broccoli, spinach, capsicum, strawberries and the Australian bush plum
  • Vitamin E – wheatgerm oil, avocadoes, nuts, seeds and whole grains
  • Zinc – seafood, lean meat, milk and nuts

Since most people do not consume the recommended daily intake of these foods, supplementation would seem appropriate.

An easy way to get the antioxidants you need is to have a daily drink of Noni Gia , the antioxidant rich natural blend of powdered Tahitian Noni juice, pineapple and grape juice.

Unfortunately, studies in the past with a single antioxidant, or a combination of a few, have been inconclusive. Researchers have documented that whole food based supplements are protective while single ingredients isolated from them are ineffective. Also, dietary nutrients are bound within a food matrix and are released more slowly than isolated ingredients thus prolonging their effects.

So, if you are going to supplement – and it would seem beneficial to do so – make sure that it is with a 'food-based' supplement with multiple sustained release ingredients.

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