Friday, December 28, 2012

The Role of Antioxidants in Anti-Aging, Skin Health and Heart Health

Antioxidants are helpful substances that stem the damage done by free radical molecules. These oxygen molecules are unstable. They have unpaired electrons and will steal electrons from other molecules. This will cause damage even to a cell's DNA. This sort of injury contributes to aging and other disorders. Often, the aging caused by free radicals shows up in the skin in the form of dryness, wrinkles and age spots. Antioxidants work by giving up an electron to the free radical molecule.

Antioxidants for combating aging and maintaining healthy skin

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is also an antioxidant. Vitamin A is fat soluble, and it's possible to take too much of it and overdose. The best way to get Vitamin A is to take it as beta carotene. Beta carotene is converted to Vitamin A in the body. People don't overdose on Vitamin A when they take it in the beta carotene form, because the vitamin is produced when it's needed.

Vitamin A is also a chief ingredient in drugs like tretinoin and retinoic acid which are very helpful in treating skin conditions like psoriasis and acne. The one caveat about these medications is that pregnant women or women who want to become pregnant shouldn't use them. They've been implicated in birth defects.

Beta carotene is found in fruits and vegetables, especially deeply colored vegetables like carrots, butternut squash, spinach and beet greens. Vitamin A can be found in fish liver oil, milk and meat.

Vitamin C

The chief job of this antioxidant is to help the body make collagen. Collagen serves as a mattress under the layers of skin and helps keep it juicy and elastic. Vitamin C is abundant in citrus fruit and green leafy vegetables. Because it's water soluble, the body only uses as much as it needs and excretes the rest.

Vitamin E

Most people never have to worry about a deficiency of Vitamin E, since it's found in most normal diets. However, it's especially abundant in vegetable and corn oil, margarine, mayonnaise, whole grains, spinach and wheat germ.

Vitamin E has been shown to help counter premature aging in skin, especially if it's used topically. This is because it helps the body replace old cells with new ones on the top layers of the skin. It also helps heal burns, skin ulcers, abrasions and old acne scars.

Antioxidants for a healthy heart

Heart health is always something that people should be considering, especially as they begin to reach an age beyond 30. This is something that usually coincides with better dietary choices and more healthy practices that can alleviate unnecessary stress placed on the heart to perform its job correctly. However, this might not always be enough to truly give your heart what it needs to perform to the best of its ability.

Antioxidants are instrumental in the body functioning as it should, better put, they are key in the body running optimally. However, it can sometimes be challenging to know which antioxidants can specifically help your heart to perform better, and not just things like your immune system, which most antioxidants are beneficial towards. So with this in mind, there are a few key antioxidants that are very good for your heart, and some simple ways to introduce these into your everyday diet.

Vitamin C is often considered as the leading immune system builder, but it also contains active antioxidants that are key in deterring cardiovascular health concerns. Considering the widespread nature of this vitamin, you can eat a lot of different things to get your daily recommended values. Citrus fruits, berries, dark leafy vegetables, kiwi and cantaloupe are all good sources to get these antioxidants into your system.

Beta carotene is something that the jury is still undecided on. For the studies that have been performed on it, there were cases where people could significantly benefit from it while others showed little response. This is when it was taken apart from supplements, as in this form it is often discouraged by medical professionals. Good sources of beta carotene are red, orange, and yellow vegetables and fruits. Some examples of these would be sweet potatoes, carrots, yellow peppers, and apricots.

Selenium is responsible also for releasing antioxidants to fight free radicals in your body. These free radicals are often responsible for many detrimental conditions including heart disease and other similar cardiovascular concerns. Oatmeal, chicken, garlic, seafood and many vegetables are packed with selenium.

These are a few antioxidant options that can help you towards reaching a healthier heart. Remember, supplements and multivitamins are not treatments for these conditions but can be taken to supplement a healthy diet and exercise regimen.

No comments:

Post a Comment