Everyone knows that antioxidants are good for you and promote overall health, and everyone is always recommending that you eat more of them. But, to be honest, many people don't understand how antioxidants work or what they do in the body. The truth is, antioxidants are essential for protecting your body at a cellular level, and you are using them every moment of the day. Let's take a closer look.
What do antioxidants do?
Every cell in your body is constantly engaged in the process of converting the nutrients you eat, into the chemicals required to deliver nerve impulses. In order to do that, your cells break large molecules down into smaller ones, so they take sugars, proteins, and fats, and combine them with an oxidant. An oxidant is a molecule (usually oxygen, hydrogen, or halogen) that causes other molecules to lose electrons, thereby making it possible to reduce molecules or combine them into different chemical bonds. Your body (and, indeed, the world all around us) is full of oxidants, and they are critical to cellular health and survival.
However, too many oxidants in your system creates an imbalance. This imbalance causes a state called "oxidative stress," and creates problematic free radicals. Free radicals are atoms or molecules with a single unpaired electron. Because they are unstable, they are likely to "steal" electrons from other atoms and molecules. The atom that has lost an electron becomes itself a free radical, stealing from another atom in turn. This ongoing process of stealing electrons disrupts and damages the atoms and molecules involved, and becomes a chain reaction as electrons are shifted throughout the cell and into neighboring cells and so on. The body becomes progressively damaged at the cellular level, as the instability progresses.
Oxidative stress is associated with a number of diseases, including ADHD, Parkinson's disease, chronic fatigue, and even depression. We also accumulate free radical damage over time, which contributes to the appearance of aging in the skin.
When we consume foods and supplements rich in antioxidants, what we are doing is providing the cells with atoms and molecules that have an additional electron. Antioxidant molecules can lose an electron and remain stable, without becoming free radicals themselves. When a free radical encounters an antioxidant, it "steals" that extra electron and becomes a stable atom, while the antioxidant remains stable itself. Antioxidants stop the chain reaction of free radical damage, and help your cells stay healthy.
The benefits of antioxidants
Because they help all your cells function correctly, antioxidants are known to promote general health in a wide variety of ways. Antioxidants can:
- Reduce inflammation
- Promote healing after injury
- Reduce risk of many illnesses and diseases
- Reduce the visible signs of aging
- Protect the brain and cognition
- Help protect the heart
Different kinds of antioxidants have been shown to have specific effects on different parts of the body. For example:
- Beta carotene is beneficial for the eyes
- Lycopene helps maintain the prostate
- Flavinoids benefit heart health
- Proanthocyanidins boost the urinary tract
- Astaxanthin protects the skin from damage
- Spirulina promotes the immune system
Consuming antioxidants ensures that your body is full of atoms and molecules that have an extra electron to give. These extra electrons stabilize free radicals, neutralize oxidants, and ensure the balance necessary to prevent oxidative stress. As we can see, antioxidants are more than just "good for you". They are essential for making sure your cells function properly.
Natural sources of antioxidants
Antioxidants are natural and fairly common, but certain foods are richer in them than others. Here are some of the best dietary sources of antioxidants:
- Fruits and vegetables:
- Russet potatoes
- Nuts and legumes:
- Red kidney beans
- Pinto beans
- Black beans
If you aren't getting enough antioxidants in your diet, you may want to consider a supplement. Alpha Lipoic Acid is a powerful antioxidant supplement that is essential for cellular metabolism. It is produced in the body, but our production decreases over time. It also occurs naturally in many foods, but the molecular structure of Alpha Lipoic Acid makes it not readily bio-available from dietary sources. For this reason, it is best consumed as a supplement on an empty stomach, rather than in food. In Germany, this antioxidant is used to treat diabetic neuropathy, and Alpha Lipoic Acid has also been shown to help regulate blood sugar, and may help reduce damage caused by chronic illnesses. Some of the benefits of Alpha Lipoic Acid include:
- Improves metabolism
- Reduces inflammation
- Improves insulin sensitivity
- Reduces neuropathic symptoms
- Improves microcirculation in the limbs
- Improves muscle regeneration after exercise
Early studies of Alpha Lipoic Acid even show that it may have a positive effect on weight loss in humans and prevent metabolic syndrome.
One of the most potent benefits of Alpha Lipoic Acid is that it appears to work synergistically, boosting the beneficial effects of other antioxidants. So far, it has been shown to enhance the effectiveness of vitamin E, quercetin, vitamin C, and coenzyme Q10. It even complements temozolomide, a chemotherapy drug. For this reason, it is not only known as the "universal antioxidant", but many people are calling Alpha Lipoic Acid the "super antioxidant".
Antioxidants help protect your body from disease and injury, and promote recovery from illness or accidents. They even preserve your good looks. And the truth is, when you are out on the road, the unexpected can happen quickly, and you need all your mental and physical resources available.
At Roam, we want all your adventures to be good ones, so it's important to take care of yourself and stay active and healthy for every undertaking. We strongly believe that good nutrition and good health are part of an adventurous, natural, free-roaming lifestyle. Our Alpha Lipoic Acid supplement will help preserve and protect your body and mind for years to come, ensuring that, whatever experiences life has to offer, no matter how unexpected, you will be able to seize the moment and make the most of it. We want to help you roam far, roam free, and roam for as many years as you want.