All about 'Antioxidants'

Antioxidants a buzz word that is on everyone’s lips. They are found in our food, drinks, supplements and skin care, they are literally everywhere.

So why are antioxidants so important, and why are we seeing them plastered all over products in our supermarkets, heath stores, pharmacies and beauty clinics. and what exactly do they do?

Antioxidants are compounds found in plant sources that work to neutralize and scavenge reactive oxygen species (ROS) Aka free radicals. They do this by way of donating an electron, to a damaged cell. This process works by preventing or slowing oxidative damage to our tissues and cells like cellular proteins, lipids and DNA.

So, what is a free radical exactly you may be asking. Free radical or ROS, are essentially waste substances produced by a chemical reaction in the cells and are generated by a multitude of things from our day to day living. Everything from what we consume in our diet, sun exposure, emotional stress, excessive exercise, exposure to chemicals via medication, pesticides and general cleaning products, pollutions and many other environmental factors even the air we breathe.

But free radicals are not all doom and gloom, we do need some free radicals in our system to help fight off infection, and even to turn air and food into chemical energy. So, they do serve a purpose, it’s just when our bodies are out of balance with free radicals that the problems begin, and oxidative stress starts to affect our bodies.

Oxidative stress has been linked to many diseased states in the body from heart disease, immune deficiency, arthritis, stroke, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson, premature ageing and DNA mutations potentially leading to cancer. And In relation to the skin, free radicals can show premature wrinkles, glycation of the skin, collagen degeneration, pigmentation changes, uneven dull skin and broken capillaries just to name a few.

So what can we do to slow, and prevent these unwanted cellular changes?

First and foremost, let’s look at the diet! antioxidant rich foods, should be included into our daily diets. Phytochemicals from plant sources like tomatoes, cranberries spinach and green tea are found to be the richest. And grapes, blueberries, red berries, nuts, dark green veggies, sweet potatoes, orange veggies, whole grains, beans like lentils and soy and omegas 3 are all great sources we should be having 5 daily serves to receive the full benefit.

We can assist our diet with supplements, but it has been shown that diet is the most effective way to source our internal antioxidants.

Topical antioxidants ingredients like vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin E, Resveratrol, Coenzyme Q10, Polyphenols, Flavonoids, Glutathione antioxidants all aid in the ability to neutralize free radical activity, help the skins natural regeneration processby protecting, interrupting and rebuffing any negative environmental influences. They can also help by reducing inflammation promoting a younger, brighter skin. The benefits go on and on.

One thing you should look at when purchasing your antioxidants, is the packaging they are in. As antioxidants are extremely unstable, so look for products that are packaged with opaque containers and that they are airtight, as antioxidants break down when exposed to light and air.

So, in the end we need to combat excess free radical damage, both topically and internally for the absolute best outcome, in the fight against disease and premature ageing.

We stock some amazing, rich antioxidant products (just about all have some antioxidant benefit), as well as a multitude of other benefits. So, if you are looking to find out some more on what products are right for your skin concerns, and what ones can help you fight off disease and premature ageing. Come and see us for your in-depth consultation, and our nutritionist/ naturopath can help guide you in the right direction on dietary requirements.