You must have heard a lot about antioxidants and how they are beneficial for maintaining good health. But very few people know how antioxidants work in our body and the essential antioxidants that can help you maintain your fitness and good health.
In this article, we discuss the significant benefits of antioxidants and the ones you need to add to your daily routine.
What are Antioxidants?
When it comes to combating free radicals responsible for cell damage, antioxidants are the first line of defence against them. They work by neutralizing the effects of free radicals produced by your body and reducing oxidative damage, linked to the development of several degenerative diseases.
Antioxidants play a critical role in maintaining the body's health. They fight against the ageing process and the degeneration of cells in your body.
The human body naturally produces free radicals and antioxidants to counteract their damaging effects. However, in most cases, free radicals far outnumber the naturally occurring antioxidants. Therefore, to maintain the balance, a continual supply of external antioxidants is necessary.
Benefits of Antioxidants
Helps in Recovery
Antioxidants have been linked to a reduction in muscle soreness and a reduction in oxidative stress in the body. Therefore, antioxidants are beneficial when you want to recover faster and reduce muscle soreness.
Antioxidants are beneficial if you are a competitive athlete who participates in events that require repeated bouts of intense activity and the need to recover quickly. It is beneficial for people who naturally produce lower levels of antioxidants or struggle to recover between workouts.
Strengthens Immune System
The immune system present in our body carries out a protective function against external pathogens. Excess production of free radicals can lead to oxidative stress, which can cause damage to immune cells resulting in impaired immune function. However, the human body is well equipped with an antioxidant defence mechanism to deal with these free radicals. But when these free radicals overpower this mechanism, an external source of antioxidants is of great help.
Fights Several Diseases
A diet rich in antioxidants, lowers the risk of various diseases including heart disease and certain cancers. This is because antioxidants help remove the harmful free radicals from cells in the body and help prevent or reduce the damage caused by oxidation.
Men who consume antioxidant lycopene (found in tomatoes) are less likely to develop prostate cancer. Researchers have discovered that lutein (found in spinach and corn) helps in improving vision loss in the elderly. Flavonoids (such as the catechins found in green tea) helps in lowering the risk of heart diseases.
Also, antioxidants' ability to protect against various other diseases is still being investigated around the world.
Improves Brain Health
Damage to neurons resulting from oxidative stress is associated with the development of neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's disease. A correlation between neurodegenerative disorders and antioxidant deficiency has been demonstrated in several studies. An observation made in one of these studies was that people 65 years and older who consumed external antioxidants in their diet had a lower risk of developing cognitive decline.
Essential Antioxidants to Consider
Alpha Lipoic Acid: ALA can support muscle recovery effects and prevent the training-induced loss of performance. It also helps reduce inflammation and skin ageing, promote healthy nerve function, lower heart disease risk factors, and slow the progression of memory loss disorders.
Ginkgo Biloba Extract: It helps in dilating the blood vessels and thus improves blood circulation in the brain and other body parts. It also helps in the muscle-building process by enhancing the blood flow in the muscle tissues and disposing of toxins and waste products efficiently.
Ginseng Extract: It helps in reducing inflammation and helps in improving brain function. It also enhances the energy levels in the body and reduces fatigue.
Grape Seed Extract: It can help prevent several diseases and protect against oxidative stress, tissue damage, and inflammation. It also improves collagen levels in the body and strengthens bone tissues.
Green Tea Extract: It is an antioxidant powerhouse and helps reduce the muscle damage that occurs while doing heavy lifting. The catechin found in green tea can help reduce muscle soreness.
Lutein: It helps in improving the mitochondrial function of the cells in the body, which improves endurance and muscle strength.
Lycopene: It is shown to enhance overall athletic performance and improve fitness. Having lycopene before a workout can reduce the harmful chemical levels caused by oxidative stress.
Spirulina Extract: Several studies show that spirulina extract helps in enhancing the endurance of athletes. It significantly increases the time taken fatigue. It also improves muscle strength.
Turmeric Extract: An active compound known as curcumin found in turmeric helps in reducing the inflammation and soreness that heavy training can cause. It is a potent antioxidant that helps in fighting free radicals in the body.
Should You Supplement It?
There are numerous benefits of having antioxidants in your daily diet, but the question arises: Do you actually need to supplement it?
You don't have to buy a separate antioxidant supplement for covering all the necessary antioxidants. Your diet would itself cover most of them if you have a healthy diet. Try eating various foods such as - leafy vegetables, fruits, chicken, meat, dairy, fibre rich foods such oats, grains, nuts and many more.
But however, in real life it is difficult for you to cover all the antioxidants through your diet alone and if you are an active individual then you need much higher quantity antioxidants than what you can cover through diet. Many people are also vegetarians and miss out on many of the antioxidants coming from animal sources. This is where supplementing becomes essential. So, to make sure that you are having your antioxidants intake in place, you need to add a potent multivitamin with antioxidants like Maximult for Men and Maximult for Women that contains all the essential antioxidants required to support your fitness journey and a healthy lifestyle.
Antioxidants. (2021, March 3). The Nutrition Source. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/antioxidants/
Antioxidants and Exercise Performance: With a Focus on Vitamin E and C Supplementation. (2020, November 1). PubMed Central (PMC). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7697466/
Antioxidant supplements and endurance exercise: Current evidence and mechanistic insights. (2020, August 1). ScienceDirect. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2213231719315447