Antioxidants are one of the food industry’s most popular products now.
Antioxidants found every a variety of foods, from garlic to goji berry, green tea and a host of other fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs. Producing foods that are rich in antioxidants has become a billion dollar industry, but the ingredients aren’t just for food products, although a number of antioxidant juice varieties available. Antioxidants are found in a number of skin care and animal food products as well. In fact, antioxidant-rich animal feed accounted for more than two million dollars in 2011.
What Exactly Are Antioxidants?
Antioxidants can include vitamins like A, C, and E that keep molecules from oxidizing. Carotenoids, which are found in foods that are rich in beta carotene, and capsaicin, the ingredient that makes pepper spicy, are also antioxidants. If these molecules oxidize, they create free radicals, which can cause damage to the body. We all need oxidation for healthy immune responses.
However, when too many free radicals build up in the body, the cells become damaged and the aging process becomes evident. Free radical accumulation in the body can also put the body at risk for illnesses like chronic fatigue syndrome, certain cancers, Parkinson’s disease or Alzheimer’s. Antioxidants flush free radicals from the body and boost the immune system while helping to restore cells and reduce further destruction. Antioxidants also protect the body from environmental damage and prompt the body to produce white blood cells, which help to kill bacteria.
Additional Sources of Antioxidants
Herbs like sage, oregano and clove have a high percentage of antioxidants, so cooking with these fresh herbs often can improve your health and help you to manage your weight and promote an overall sense of well-being. Garlic is also an antioxidant-rich food, and has the ability to boost the immune system and rid of the body of viruses and infection.
Cranberries are high in antioxidants as well and make an effective antioxidant juice, especially when combined with other fresh fruits and vegetables. The berries are used as a natural treatment to prevent scurvy, and the sulfur in cranberries can treat and prevent urinary tract infections. Foods like cocoa and red wine are also high in antioxidants. These foods should be eaten in moderation and are said to contribute to heart health.
Ways to Consume or Use Antioxidants
Antioxidant-rich foods can be included in smoothies and yogurt, and can be eaten dried or raw. Asia and Western Europe are currently the largest markets for antioxidant products, but North America is beginning to catch up, as more and more people are becoming concerned about health conditions like diabetes and obesity. Antioxidants also promote a more holistic way of life, as it is believed that people are likely to live healthier lives when they have a better sense of well-being. This is becoming increasingly true in Western civilization, since more people in North America are subscribing to holistic health as a more balanced and beneficial way of life.
Antioxidant supplements can also promote health and a strengthened immune system. Since health conditions like heart disease and cancer are becoming more and more common, more and more people are finding out about the benefits of antioxidants. Of course, it’s best to take these supplements in moderation and to consume most antioxidants in the form of foods or all natural moisturizers that are rich in vitamins and minerals. Antioxidants are a steadily growing industry, since products like makeup and Matcha are becoming fortified with these essential ingredients often.
This article was written by Sean Hunter, who believes that every diet should consider a good amount of antioxidants.