Do Antioxidants Really Help Us? An Expert's Guide to Their Benefits

Antioxidants are substances that can help protect our cells from damage caused by free radicals. Learn more about their benefits and how to get them from whole foods or dietary supplements.

Do Antioxidants Really Help Us? An Expert's Guide to Their Benefits

Antioxidants are substances that can help protect our cells from damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are molecules that can cause oxidative stress, which is believed to be a factor in the development of several conditions, such as cancer, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. But do we really need to take additional antioxidants if we're already taking other types of dietary supplements?The combination of supplements does not normally interfere with their functioning and, in some cases, may be beneficial; for example, vitamin C helps the absorption of iron. But what are antioxidants really? How do they affect our bodies? What food sources include them and how much do we need to eat?Antioxidants are found in a variety of foods, including fruits and vegetables.

They can also be found in nuts, grains, and some meats. Eating a variety of antioxidant-rich foods is the best way to get the most benefit from them. Some studies showed that people with a low intake of fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants were at greater risk of developing these chronic conditions than people who ate a lot of those foods. Ideally, you don't need to take antioxidant supplements if you follow a nutritious and varied diet. Experts generally suggest getting antioxidants from whole foods rather than dietary supplements for several good reasons.

In most cases, antioxidant supplementation did not reduce the risks of developing these diseases. This is why using an antioxidant supplement with a single isolated substance may not be an effective strategy for everyone. As is the case with many things in the field of nutrition, there are a lot of things to unravel with respect to antioxidants. However, there is debate as to whether consuming large amounts of antioxidants in supplement form actually benefits health. And despite the headlines, social media posts, and marketing claims praising foods, beverages, and antioxidant supplements, they're not exactly a panacea on the plate. The Australian Dietary Guidelines describe the types of foods you should eat to reduce your risk of diet-related conditions and chronic diseases. However, some studies have raised the possibility that taking antioxidant supplements, whether individual or combined agents, may interfere with health.

Some antioxidants are essential vitamins that the body needs to function, while others are essential minerals. Some antioxidant supplements, such as vitamin A, may even increase the risk of birth defects if taken in high doses. If you focus on the variety of your diet and insist on trying new fruits or vegetables to expand the amount you eat, you'll probably do well in terms of antioxidants. In conclusion, it's important to remember that while antioxidants can be beneficial for our health when consumed in moderation through whole foods or dietary supplements, they should not be seen as a panacea for all our health problems. Eating a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables is still the best way to get all the nutrients your body needs.