Antioxidants, The Best Immunity Boosters

on Sunday, 21 April 2013. Posted in Nutrition for adults, Diet and Nutrition Written By: Shyamala Singh

Consuming foods and supplements rich in antioxidants can act as immunity boosters. Know More.

Antioxidants, The Best Immunity Boosters

It is an established fact that nutritious food is vital for good health and fitness. However, did you know that certain foods are more effective in boosting immunity in humans and preventing onset of infections than others? Foods containing high levels of antioxidants are one of them.

Human body contains free radicals; harmful components which expose human body-cells to a process called, ‘oxidation’. This process results in damage to body-cells and weakening of immunity; making us prone to chronic diseases like arthritis, heart diseases and cancer.

What are antioxidants?

Antioxidants include minerals, enzymes, vitamins and nutrients which serve well to fight free radicals and avert onset of oxidation process in cells thereby, keeping chronic diseases at bay. They also assist in reversing ill-effects of oxidation and help cells in self-repair.

Benefits of antioxidants

Antioxidants guarantee a plethora of health benefits including:

Antioxidants Trivia

Cancer patients show remarkable improvement in their immunity with antioxidant supplements.

The common herbs found in supplements are rosemary, grape seed, green tea and jiaogulan.

  • Anti-ageing, reducing wrinkles and improving skin-texture.
  • Providing natural protection against sun and averting sun-burns.
  • Reducing symptoms of chronic and degenerative diseases including cancer, cardiovascular diseases, macular degeneration, Alzheimer’s, immune system dysfunction and so on.
  • Maintenance of health of prostrate and urinary tract.
  • Maintenance and protection of eyes and vision.

Types and sources of antioxidants

Antioxidants come in many varieties, each having its unique benefits. They are available in foods which form a part of our dietary intake or as supplements too. Ideally one should have four to five servings or fruits and vegetables a day since these are rich sources of antioxidants.

Some of the antioxidants in our diet, their types and sources are:

Antioxidant vitamins: The three types of vitamins having antioxidant characteristics include Vitamin C, E and Beta-Carotene. Fruits sources include peaches, pink grapes, apricots, tangerines, mangoes and water melons. Vegetable sources include asparagus, beet, corn, pumpkin, carrots, sweet potatoes, turnip, spinach and tomatoes.

Antioxidant Minerals: Common antioxidant minerals include selenium and zinc. While zinc is found in abundance in oysters, sea-foods, beans, whole grains, red meat, dairy products, nuts, celery, fortified cereals and poultry; selenium is rich in food sources like poultry, tuna, whole grains and beef.

In case dietary intakes are unable to meet the antioxidant requirements of for our body, supplements can prove to be beneficial for maintaining good health. For best results, one should consume supplements with nutritious and balanced diet; stimulate body-metabolism using regular exercise and fitness regime; avoid tobacco, alcohol and smoking and inculcate a healthy lifestyle.

Supplements are beneficial to a wide range of people including vegetarians who miss out on certain antioxidants since they do not consume non-vegetarian foods and elders aged 55 years and above since their immunity which gets compromised due to ageing requires a boost. Sports persons and athletes benefit the most by consuming antioxidant supplements since they undertake intense fitness regimes.

Usually, herbal products rich in antioxidants serve as dietary supplements. Different antioxidants take different time gaps to get flushed from our body. If consumed unsupervised, some may be retained in our body for longer than desired which can prove detrimental due to toxic side-effects or over-dose.

Hence, all these supplements should be administered only after consulting with a registered practitioner.

 

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