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As our population ages, we continually look for ways to maintain our mental and physical health. While studies have proven that consuming high levels of natural antioxidants can improve the aging process. In layman’s terms, antioxidants fight free radicals, reduce oxidative stress, improve mental health, assist with brain functioning, support healthy aging and improve eyesight.
Antioxidants are a substance that protects our cells from damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules made by the process of oxidation during normal metabolism. Oxidation is a chemical reaction that takes place in our bodies when substances meet oxygen or other oxidizing substances. An example would be the reaction magnesium has in the body when it meets with oxygen; this meeting would birth free radicals. Free radicals can contribute to cancer cells, heart disease, strokes and many diseases of aging.
Antioxidants neutralize free radicals by giving up some of their own electrons. They act as a natural off switch, and this helps break a chain that can affect other molecules in the cell and other cells in the body. Free radicals are an inescapable part of life. They generate in response to environmental abuses, like tobacco smoke, ultraviolet rays and air pollution and are also a natural byproduct of processes in the cells.
We can get antioxidants from different sources, and each source provides a different type of antioxidant. Dietary antioxidant nutrients are foods we can eat that inhibit the oxidation of molecules by deactivating free radicals, thereby stopping them from causing cellar damage. Blueberries are considered the king of antioxidant foods and some other foods high in antioxidants are:
For supplementary antioxidants, as blueberries are the king of the foods, Glutathione would be considered the “Mother of all Antioxidants”. Glutathione is one of the main detoxifiers in our bodies and plays an imperative role in boosting immune health. We run into toxins daily: air pollution and glyphosates from food and in water where trace elements and heavy metals often reside. Glutathione is the most powerful and important among the antioxidants our body produces. It’s a combination of three amino acids, and it tackles aging through the intestines and circulatory system.
Glutathione contains sulfur molecules, which is why foods high in sulfur help boost their natural production in the body. Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and Bok choy. Allium vegetables such as garlic and onions, eggs, nuts, beans and lean protein, like fish and chicken.
Glutathione can be negatively affected by insomnia, so getting enough rest can also help increase glutathione levels and try intermittent fasting once a month, consuming only water for 24 hours. As stated by Nationally known nutritionist and wellness expert Cynthia Sass, “Antioxidants are really like little bodyguards inside your body that protect your cells from disease”.
Words by Kaba Abdul Fattaah.