The Benefits of Antioxidants and Where to Find Them
Whether you focus a little or a lot on your health and the health of your family, chances are you’ve heard the term antioxidants before.
Many foods and supplements claim antioxidant power - and that’s because a lot of things do have antioxidants.
So, do you need them? What are the benefits of antioxidants, and where are some of the best places to find them?
The Benefits of Antioxidants
What is an antioxidant’s claim to fame? It’s free radical-fighting power. In your body, it’s a veritable superhero (no, seriously!).
Let’s dive a bit deeper…
Every day, we encounter things that put pressure on our bodies. And some of that pressure comes via free radicals.
Free radicals are unstable atoms that your body naturally produces. When kept in check, they do serve a purpose.
However, when they begin to outnumber the good guys (antioxidants) they can damage your calls and DNA in a process called oxidation.
And several lifestyle, stress, and environmental factors are known to promote excessive free radical formation, leading to oxidative stress, including:
- air pollution
- cigarette smoke
- alcohol intake
- high blood sugar levels
- high intake of polyunsaturated fatty acids
- radiation, including excessive sunbathing
- bacterial, fungal, or viral infections
- excessive intake of iron, magnesium, copper, or zinc
- intense and prolonged exercise, which causes tissue damage
Prolonged oxidative stress leads to an increased risk of negative health outcomes, such as cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancer.
Antioxidants are molecules that fight those harmful free radicals in your body.
Your body naturally produces some powerful antioxidants, such as alpha lipoic acid and glutathione. But you can also increase the number of these helpful molecules with food.
Where to Find Antioxidants
Many, many foods contain antioxidants.
Blueberries are probably the best known. In fact, they’re the fruit with the highest antioxidant count. Eating fresh blueberries on the regular is a really easy way to boost your antioxidants.
But they’re not the only source.
Other good food sources of antioxidants are:
- red wine
- citrus fruits
- onions, garlic, leeks
- pink grapefruit
See? There are lots of ways to up your antioxidant intake.
One of our favorites is turkey tail mushrooms. It’s one of the reasons we’re so fascinated with these fungi.
Turkey tail is packed with antioxidants, including more than 35 phenols and powerful flavonoid antioxidants like quercetin and baicalein. Phenol and flavonoid antioxidants promote health by reducing damage caused by oxidative stress.
The bonus about turkey tail is that it also supports the rest of the body while fighting free radicals! Turkey tail's antioxidant power is accompanied by impressive gut health support thanks to beta-glucans called polysaccharopeptide.
So, alongside your blueberry smoothie or fresh leafy greens, make sure you brew up an antioxidant-rich pot of turkey tail tea!