You may have heard a lot about antioxidants. Whether they're made naturally in the body (such as alpha lipoic acid or glutathione), obtained from the diet (many fruits may contain antioxidants), or incorporated into your supplement regimen, there is no shortage of ways to stock up on these helpful compounds. But what are antioxidants, and how can they help our bodies? This blog takes a look at antioxidants and how to incorporate them into your diet.
What Are Antioxidants?
Antioxidants are natural or man-made substances that can help inhibit certain types of cell damage.* Vegetables and fruits often contain flavonoids, or compounds that are important for their antioxidant, antibacterial, antiviral, and anti‐inflammatory activities*, making them powerful natural antioxidants.* The term antioxidant applies to any compound that can counteract unstable molecules, known as free radicals, that can damage cells.* Antioxidants work to neutralize free radicals, and the term antioxidant applies to the chemical property of these compounds rather than a specific nutritional property.*
What are Free Radicals?
Antioxidants are compounds that inhibit oxidation, or chemical reactions that produce free radicals.* The body can be exposed to free radicals naturally or through external environmental factors such as cigarette smoke, pollution and even sunlight, but these oxygen-containing molecules are also a natural process in cell rejuvenation and can help the immune system destroy bacteria.* Free radicals have an uneven number of electrons which can easily interact with other molecules and damage cells by causing oxidative stress.* Antioxidants may help stabilize these free radicals to reduce oxidative stress.* Usually the body’s own naturally-occurring antioxidants can counter this process, however as aging occurs free radical production may begin to increase.* That's why a diet rich with antioxidants can help support wellness at a cellular level.*
There are plenty of different compounds that can act as antioxidants; most familiarly, vitamins C and E, beta-carotene and minerals such as selenium and manganese can all promote antioxidant activity.* In the diet, many fruits and vegetables can act as natural antioxidants.* That's because they contain important plant compounds (phytonutrients), such as flavonols and polyphenols that work to neutralize free radicals.* The body is also able to produce some antioxidants, such as alpha lipoic acid. The following foods can act as natural antioxidant sources:
Dark chocolate (a great source of polyphenols, flavonols and catechins)
- Pecans (contain different forms of the antioxidant vitamin E)
- Berries, such as blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and Goji berries, are one of the richest antioxidant fruit sources*
- Artichoke (a rich source of chlorogenic acid)
- Kale (contains anthocyanin antioxidants)
- Red cabbage (contains anthocyanins and vitamin C, which may also act as an antioxidant)
- Beets (contain betalains, antioxidants that give beets their reddish color)
- Spinach (acts as a natural source of lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants important to eye health*)
Supplements for Antioxidant Health
For some, it may hard to consume a diet rich with the vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients necessary to obtain a diverse antioxidant profile through food sources.* Luckily, many dietary supplements may also function as natural antioxidants.* Here are a few of our favorites for antioxidant health.*
Nature's Lab Resveratrol Ultra is a nutrient combination specially formulated to promote cardiovascular health and antioxidant health.* Resveratrol, part of a group of natural compounds called polyphenols, is produced by plants in response to stress. These polyphenols are believed to act as antioxidants, which may help protect cells against damage caused by environmental stress, toxins, and free radicals.* Nature's Lab Resveratrol Ultra provides 250 mg of standardized trans-resveratrol plus 50 mg each of red wine extract, grape seed extract, and green tea extract to work together to support heart health, antioxidant health, vascular health and a healthy inflammatory response.* Grape seed extract, red wine extract, and resveratrol also have cardioprotective properties and work together to promote rejuvenation at a cellular level and support anti-aging.*
DHEA is not available naturally in the diet. Supplementing with Nature's Lab DHEA helps restore and support this vital building block.* Experience mental clarity, a more balanced mood and more energy to get you through you day.*
Perhaps best known for its role in supporting a healthy inflammatory response, turmeric may also act as a powerful antioxidant.* Turmeric contains many plant compounds, but curcuminoids are renowned for their health-promoting benefits.* The compounds in curcuminoids include curcumin, demethoxycurcumin, and bisdemethoxycurcumin, with curcumin being well-regarded for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant-promoting properties.* While the curcuminoids found naturally in turmeric range at about 2%, some products standardize the amount of curcuminoids in their formulations for higher potency. Try Nature's Lab Turmeric Extract, a premium formula standardized to 95% curcuminoids, and shop all turmeric-containing products here.