Antioxidants have been extensively researched for some time now and their powerful anti-ageing effects have shown to counteract free radical damage. Free radicals are formed naturally by the metabolism and immune system but they are also caused by exposure to UV radiation, poor diet, smoking and drinking alcohol. This damage can cause premature aging and affect the cardiovascular system, nervous system and skin health.
The good news is a diet high in antioxidants can promote a youthful appearance and promote healthy aging of the body and all its systems.
What are the antioxidants?
Vitamin C, carotenoids and bioflavonoids
Most fruits contain high levels of vitamin C, carotenoids and bioflavonoids. Vitamin C is a water-soluble, antioxidant vitamin important for good skin and healthy blood vessels. As well as a healthy immune system, respiratory system and cardiovascular system, vitamin C is vital for a healthy looking complexion.
Carotenoids are the yellow, orange and red pigments found in vegetables and fruit. They are also antioxidants important for healthy skin, eyes and immune system.
Bioflavonoids are a powerful group of polyphenols which improve the absorption of vitamin C and increase the strength and resiliency of the collagen structure in the skin.
Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, grapes, pomegranates and citrus fruit all contain high amounts of these vital antioxidants.
Catechins or tea polyphenols
Are the compounds found in green, black and white tea. Excellent for preventing colds and flu, catechins are also useful for a healthy liver and digestion.
Drinking green tea daily is a great way to enhance your digestion, prevent weight gain and keep your antioxidant intake up. Green tea has recently been shown to prevent skin cancer and protect the skin from UVA damage.
White tea is made from the young buds of the tea plant Camellia sinensis; it has a milder, sweeter flavour but contains higher amounts of antioxidants than green or black teas. This is a wonderful anti-aging remedy, drink white tea daily to maintain healthy and youthful skin and also as a refreshing pick-me-up.
Resveratol and Oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPC’s)
Resveratol and OPC’s are antioxidants found in red wine and are useful for a healthy cardiovascular system, metabolism and even immune system. A moderate amount of red wine is an enjoyable way to include antioxidants into your diet, while relaxing at the same time. Red wine may also possess life extending properties; however, remember to enjoy a few wine free days to maintain good liver health and high energy levels. Grape juice contains the same antioxidants as wine, so if alcohol is a no-no in your fitness routine, this is an excellent alternative. Dark chocolate also contains OPC’s but the same rule applies, enjoy it in moderation.