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Why we need so many antioxidants

And where you can find it


Everybody is talking about antioxidants

But few people can explain why it is that we need so many antioxidants. We’ll try to elucidate …

What you need to know:

As it turns out, antioxidants may be very important for your nervous system’s health (and the rest of your body, too). They seem to prevent the harmful consequences of too much of a basic process called oxidative stress.

Oxidative stress is a cellular process that takes place in our brains and bodies every day, all the time. To a certain extent, it is normal: Our cells contain “reactive oxygen species.” These are chemically reactive, oxygen-containing molecules (like peroxides) that are a natural result of oxygen metabolism. In high volumes, these molecules are up to no good. But the body can handle them and detoxify itself at low levels.

So how do we make our brains less susceptible to over-stressing (oxidatively, that is)? What can we do to prevent––or reverse––such crippling neurological and behavioral deficits?

The easiest answer is probably to consume more antioxidants.

 

All plants synthesize a multitude of chemical compounds that enhance the plant’s survival odds. Some of these compounds are anthocyanins: natural pigments responsible for the yellow, red, and blue hues of fruits, flowers, and vegetables. They protect the plant from UV overdose, among other things

 

Ever heard that the more intense the color of the fruit or vegetable you’re eating, the better it is for you? Perhaps this is why. Anthocyanins are reportedly potent antioxidants, working by chemically reducing the effects of oxidative stress. Animal models of antioxidant effects in the brain have revealed the benefits of these super-nutrients at the behavioral, neurological, and cellular levels. Their helpful effects also apply to brains and nervous systems that are both young and healthy (prevention), and diseased and aged (reversing damage).

So invite antioxidants to the family dinner table more often. Most of them taste great, and they might even help you remember those moments later in life!

Information in part from “Oxidative Stress and Inflammation in Brain Aging: Nutritional Considerations,” Neurochemical Research

 

 


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