Antioxidants are substances that stop or delay the damage of the free radicals to the organism. They help to keep the cells younger for longer and they also work better.
There is a constant fight in our body between the “bad” free radicals and the healthy cells. When there are more free radicals the chances of suffering premature aging and diseases increase.
The antioxidant supplements can help our organism to neutralize the harmful molecules, caused by unstable atoms, before they can damage the healthy cells or even interrupt these destructive processes once they have begun.
They protect the cells of our body and counteract the destructive effects of unstable molecules.
Stay healthy through anti-aging treatments to liver longer
Anti-aging means finding a way to delay the aging processes while keeping a good quality of life. Life expectancy is constantly increasing, to the point that there is people in the world who have lived up to 122 years.
Unfortunately, this is not possible for everybody, but we can try to follow an anti-aging routine to improve our quality of life.
Causes of aging
The lifestyle, unhealthy diets, and pollution have an impact on our health and our life expectancy. Some of the main habits that shorten our lives are smoking, drinking alcohol excessively, obesity, and sleeping problems. Stress, traffic, and noisy environments also accelerate the aging process.
The free radicals, the main cause of the aging of the cells of the body
The free radicals have a significant effect on biochemical aging, because they damage body cells. The terms "free radicals" and "antioxidants" are unknown terms by many people, but they should not be overlooked.
If you really want to understand the effects of antioxidants on unstable molecules, you need to approach it from a scientific point of view.
We are all made of atoms. Atoms have a complete external layer made of electrons, which remain inactive without suffering any chemical reaction, enjoying a happy life in the organism.
However, those atoms which do not have a complete electron layer are unstable. They need to get electrons and stay stable and inactive. These unstable atoms are the free radicals.
The free unstable atoms tend to move fast, and they are constantly trying to steal an electron from other molecules. In this way, the molecule that loses an electron turns into a free radical. This process never stops.
Having a moderate number of free radicals is not bad, since they are constantly being generated by metabolic processes in the body. The problem comes when the number of free radicals in the body is too high.
Oxygen free radicals are one of the most common types of unstable atoms. They are oxygen atoms which are missing an electron. To illustrate their effects, it could be compared to the effect of oxide on a car. When oxygen free radicals start damaging the body they cause oxidative stress.
What are the causes of the free radicals?
The free radicals are produced when we breathe, eat, move, simply through the common tasks in our lives. The body will produce free radicals when facing practically any stressful situation.
While there are obvious situations that cause free radicals, such as environmental pollution, smoking, stress, noise, lack of sleep, obesity, and bad eating habits; there are also a lot of "healthy" activities that produce free radicals, such as intense physical exercise.
The external signs of aging show on the skin. Wrinkles appear because the renovation of the cells drops from 25 years old onward. Moreover, the skin is less flexible over the years, which is caused, among other things, by the fact that the collagen is broken down in the layers of the skin.
UV rays, for example, damage the skin and accelerate the aging processes because the free radicals harm the cells.
But they also have a very negative effect inside our organism, damaging the cells, affecting their functioning and which results in their deterioration.
Currently, there are many diseases and health issues related to a high number of free radicals in the organism.
Antioxidant supplements to the rescue
So, how can we transform a free radical into a harmless molecule? The only way is by giving an electron to the free radical that is missing one.
Which substances can provide extra electrons? The answer is Antioxidants! They are the substances in charge of stopping and slowing down the oxidative processes produced by the free radicals.
Remember: The unstable atoms cause the oxidation and the antioxidants prevent it. The antioxidants give an electron to the free radicals, transforming them into a stable oxygen molecule.
When we do physical exercise, the body produces a high amount of free radicals because it spends more energy and oxygen. Therefore, if you practice sports, you should consume more fruits and vegetables, since they are the main suppliers of antioxidant substances.
You may also include antioxidant dietary supplements in your daily diet.
Antioxidant nutritional supplements:
- Plant extracts: such as curcumin, green tea, carotenoids, astaxanthin, lycopene, spirulina, chlorella.
- Super fruits: spanish maquis, acai, berries, blueberries, camu camu, acerola, aronia berries, pomegranate, goji, cocoa, grape seed extract (OPC)
- Amino-acids: L-carnosine
- Vitamins: Complex B vitamins, vitamin E, vitamin C
- Trace elements like selenium
- Fatty acids: Omega-3, capsules with high EPA and DHA content, olive oil, hemp oil, fish oil
ORAC, measure the antioxidant power
ORAC means Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity. It measures the ability of the substance to neutralize the oxygen free radicals in a test tube.
In essence, ORAC is a laboratory test to measure the antioxidant activity of any substance, classifying it with a determined scale. The higher the ORAC value, the stronger the antioxidant properties.
The National Institute on Aging developed the ORAC method, and then, the United States Department of Agriculture and Brunswick Laboratories have refined the procedure of the ORAC essay, by analizing different foods to determine their ORAC value.
If you are looking for antioxidant foods, you should choose the ones with the highest ORAC value.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) advises taking from 3.000 to 5.000 ORAC units a day. Actually, an 80% of population consumes less than 1.000 ORAC units daily.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, eating 5 pieces of fruit and vegetable a day provides 1.750 ORAC units.
Fruits and vegetables have the highest ORAC levels. The following values are measured on 100g: apples 218, bananas 221, blueberries 2.400. Fresh acai berries had an incredible 5.500 ORAC value.
Even more incredible still is the fact that lyophilized acai berries reach a 70.000 ORAC value every 100g.
Anthocyanins: powerful antioxidant supplements to fight the free radicals
Have you ever seen some beautiful violet flowers? And a dark red grape or a bright Fuji apple? If you answer is yes, then you have also seen anthocyanins.
Anthocyanins are flavonoid pigments that are produced by plants and fruits. These anthocyanins provide the plants and fruits their beautiful colors, although their properties go beyond this physical feature.
Anthocyanins work as a solar filter for plants, the shining color of the fruit atracts animals, who eat these fruits and spread the seeds. The antioxidants properties of the anthocyanins give those valuable and striking colors to the fruits and plants.
Fruits like the acai berries, which are exposed to intense sunlight, suffer stress due to the ultraviolet light because it produces free radicals.
For this reason acai berries produce a great amount of anthocyanins, that have intense antioxidant properties to neutralize the unstable atoms.
But this is the interesting part: The properties of anthocyanins do not disappear, even after eating them. This is the reason why those fruits with higher pigmentation levels provide a higher ORAC value. They are actually full of Anthocyanins!
Anthocyanins and the French paradox
French gastronomy involves a lot of cheese, coffee, nicotine, and white flour. With this diet, we could think that a high percentage of the French population will suffer from cardiovascular diseases. But it is actually the opposite.
The French people have a really low rate of cardiovascular diseases despite the fact that they follow a cardiotoxic diet. This is known as the French paradox.
Researches have concluded that the key to the "French Paradox" lies in the anthocyanins.
Red wine is very popular in France and it is believed that the red grape, which has a high amount of anthocyanins, is probably responsible for the good health of the French. Even though red wine is rich in anthocyanins, acai berries have 30 times more anthocyanins than red wine.
Tips to increase your life expectancy:
- Include fruits and vegetables in your diet
- Eat foods and dietary supplements with antioxidants and/or a high ORAC value, such as turmeric, Acai berries, Maqui, and multivitamins
- Drink green tea instead of coffee
- If you do a lot physical exercise, increase your consumption of antioxidants
- Do not eat excessively to prevent obesity
- Avoid sugar and animal fat
- If you drink alcohol, do so moderately
- Do not smoke
- Do relaxation exercises to relieve stress
You can buy antioxidants at parapharmacies and sport nutrition stores like HSN, where we have a wide range of products available from the best brands.
You must keep in mind that antioxidant nutritional supplements do not replace a balanced diet or healthy lifstyle. It is very important to consult your doctor if you are taking any other type of medication.
Antioxidants are, in a few words, molecules that are capable of preventing or reducing the oxidation of other molecules. This chemical reaction, caused by the transfer of the electrons contained in a substance to an oxidizing agent, results in the production of the free radicals that deteriorate the cells through chain reactions...