bodyOxygen can be both, boon and bane, for our body. As much as oxygen is necessary for essential life processes, excess of it can lead to oxidation - a chemical reaction that can produce free radicals. If not curbed, this leads to chain reactions that may damage our cells.
This is where ‘antioxidants’ come into play. These are compounds that inhibit oxidation and clean up cell-damaging free radicals from our body. Let us understand the benefits and side effects of antioxidants while taking a look at some of its sources. Here’s more.
Benefits Of Antioxidants
- Antioxidants can help prevent or reduce cell damage in the system that free radicals cause, known as oxidative stress.
- Antioxidant supplements may also prevent vision loss due to age-related macular degradation in older people.
- Also, antioxidants tend to prevent a lot of deadly diseases caused by oxidative stress like cancer, atherosclerosis and many other conditions.
- But there is a lack of evidence if these benefits are triggered by the presence of antioxidants or not.
Antioxidants Rich Foods And Some Additional Benefits
Here are some common foods that are rich in antioxidants:
Blueberries(benefits of blueberry smoothie for skin) are said to be rich in certain nutrients and antioxidants while being low in calories. Research shows that blueberries carry heavy amounts of antioxidants amongst all other commonly consumed fruits. Apart from various other health benefits that antioxidants exhibit on the human body which we learned earlier, antioxidants present solely in blueberries are said to delay the decline in brain function or neural activity with age. This is because antioxidants present inside blueberries neutralize harmful free radicals which reduce inflammation of neural cells.
Strawberries contain plenty amount of antioxidants along with Vitamin C. Moreover, the red colour of strawberries is because of the presence of a certain type of antioxidant known as anthocyanins. This type of antioxidant reduces the risk of heart-related ailments to a large extent by getting rid of bad or LDL cholesterol and promotes HDL or good cholesterol production which in turn subsequently relieves blockage in the arteries coming in and out of the heart ensuring proper blood flow.
Chocolate is another extremely rich source of antioxidants, especially dark chocolate which has more cocoa bean extracts in it. Based on research, dark chocolate has a whopping amount of 15 mmol of antioxidants per 100 grams, which is way more than blueberries and strawberries. Also, antioxidants found in dark chocolate are said to have more impressive health benefits such as reduced inflammation of the organs and less risk of developing heart-related diseases. Consumption of dark chocolate and its antioxidants can also reduce systolic blood pressure levels in the body which is very helpful for people suffering from hypertension or high blood pressure.
Other Sources Of Antioxidants
- Red Cabbage
Potential Side-Effects Of Antioxidants
If the levels of antioxidants rise more than the required limit in the body, then the person might experience some unhealthy consequences. Most side effects due to excess antioxidants are temporary and may subside quickly as the levels are stabilised by the process of excretion initiated by the body but may be severe in some conditions. The most common side effects include diarrhea, joint pain, and dizziness.
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