The term ‘antioxidant’ has become a common term among nutritionists and fitness enthusiasts. With the changing lifestyles and dietary preferences, the use of antioxidants either through natural food sources or supplements is important.
But, what is the better option? Should you stick to natural sources or choose an option like TrueBasics antioxidant supplements? Let us find out the pros and cons.
What Are Antioxidants?
Antioxidants are certain molecules that have the ability to fight free radicals that cause intense damage to your skin and cells. Whenever your body is exposed to stressors, these free radicals are produced. This includes environmental pollutants, intense physical workouts or any lifestyle or diet-related factors. When the level of free radicals begins to increase in the body, they begin to cause oxidative damage to the cells and tissues.
It is important to note that free radicals are not entirely damaging. Some of these free radicals also help attack bacteria and viruses that are harmful to us. But, when the levels become imbalanced, they begin to attack the tissues of the body, causing several health issues.
Antioxidants neutralize the free radicals in the body maintaining the balance to the optimal level. They are usually found in foods like berries, vegetables, and fruits. If you are not able to include these foods in your diet as required, you can turn to these dietary supplements.
The Most Important Antioxidants For Your Body
A healthy diet allows you to consume a variety of antioxidants. To ensure that you have enough natural sources of these antioxidants, here is a list of the most important antioxidants for the human body:
- Vitamin A- liver, butter, eggs and milk.
- Vitamin C- Oranges, berries, kiwis, papayas, broccoli, tomatoes, cauliflower, kale and brussels sprouts.
- Vitamin E- seeds and nuts like sunflower seeds, almonds, peanuts, and hazelnuts.
- Beta carotene- These antioxidants are found in fruits and vegetables that are brightly coloured. This includes fruits and vegetables like peaches, papayas, apricots, cantaloupes, mangoes, peas, carrots, sweet potatoes, and broccoli.
- Lycopene- This is commonly found in red and pink fruits and vegetables like grapefruits, apricots, watermelon, tomatoes, and apricots.
- Lutein- These are usually found in green leafy vegetables like kale, collards, and spinach.
- Selenium- It is found in pasta, grains, bread, wheat, rice, fish, beef, chicken, turkey, legumes, eggs, nuts, and cheese.
Every type of antioxidant has a different chemical composition that provides different health benefits.
Why Are Supplements Important?
While there are several natural sources of antioxidants, there are many reasons why you may not be able to include an adequate amount in your diet:
- Dietary restrictions: Food allergies can restrict the intake of certain food sources that provide a good source of antioxidants.
- Your schedule does not allow you to eat well: If you have a very busy schedule, you may not have enough time to prepare meals that include all the food sources mentioned above. You may not have a healthy eating schedule.
- You want a convenient option: An antioxidant supplement contains a high concentration of these beneficial nutrients in a single food source. You can consume them on the go and stay free from toxins.
Using an antioxidant supplement provides you with several health benefits:
- They keep your cells free from any oxidative damage caused by free radicals.
- It keeps degenerative diseases and signs of aging at bay.
- It protects your vital organs from damage related to oxidative stress.
- Your immune system is at the peak of its performance as the cells are protected, repaired, and regenerated effectively.
- You enjoy higher energy levels when your body has stable levels of free radicals.
- When you workout or train, antioxidants ensure that you recover faster.
Are There Any Risks?
Considering the extent of exposure to toxins, using a supplement might be extremely beneficial. However, supplements should be used in moderation. High quantities of these supplements are associated with some health risks:
- Excessive consumption of supplements containing Vitamin E and Vitamin C can interfere with the body’s ability to adapt to physical activity. It can also reduce many health benefits of exercise.
- There are studies to show that excessive consumption of supplements containing beta-carotene negates the benefits of using an antioxidant supplement. It can increase the risk of certain types of cancers like lung cancer. It can even interfere with medication and treatment for cancer.
- Excessive consumption of Vitamin A when you are pregnant can increase the risk of birth defects in the baby.
With antioxidants ensuring that you consume the right amount is very important. If you are uncertain of the dosage or how your body would respond to a particular supplement, consult your doctor or healthcare provider. If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, are consuming any medicines or have preexisting health issues, you must be extra cautious when including an antioxidant supplement in your diet.