Everyone has heard of the importance of an antioxidant rich diet. Companies use it as standard marketing fare these days, promising benefits of antioxidants on everything from snack bars to breakfast cereal. Television personalities, journalists, and your next door neighbor urge you to increase your antioxidant intake. But, when you strip away all of the buzz, what exactly are antioxidants? Why should you be so concerned about them? Read on to demystify all the questions you may have about the all important antioxidant.
What Is an Antioxidant?
An antioxidant is anything that helps to neutralize the oxidizing effects of free radicals in the body. As the name implies, antioxidants stop the oxidizing effect that free radicals play on cells in the body.
Where Do We Get Antioxidants?
Antioxidants come from a variety of sources. Vitamins, minerals, flavonoids, and other key nutrients provide sources of antioxidants. In general, fruits and vegetables are some of the best sources of antioxidants. However, some sources of antioxidants exist that are not thought of as readily. For example, the blue-green algae spirulina is a tremendous and powerful source of antioxidants.
What Does an Antioxidant Do?
Sure, antioxidants fight against free radicals, but how does that help with health and well-being? By neutralizing harmful free radicals, antioxidants fight against disease, the effects of aging, and environmental harm. Continuing with the example of spirulina, this potent antioxidant source has been shown to boost energy levels and help the immune system, among other benefits.
How Do We Get Enough Antioxidants?
Thankfully, it is relatively easy to get more antioxidants into your diet. Focus on eliminating processed foods because they offer few to no antioxidants. Instead, focus on eating a rainbow of produce colors. Add antioxidants to your foods with a scoop of spirulina or simply take a spirulina supplement. Additionally, you may choose to take a multivitamin to fill in any gaps you may have, though with a varied diet and spirulina supplement you will naturally minimize any nutritional gaps.
Need some great recipes that show how to work spirulina into your diet? Take a look at this Pinterest board on easy and healthy spirulina recipes.