The Power of Antioxidants
Antioxidants are essential for gut health as they can help to reduce inflammation which can damage the gut lining and lead to intestinal permeability. Antioxidants can help to reduce inflammation by scavenging free radicals and promoting the production of anti-inflammatory compounds.
Let’s take a look at five exciting facts about antioxidants, why they are so powerful and how you can incorporate them into your diet.
#1: Antioxidants are substances
First of all, you need to know that all antioxidants are substances. Some are man-made, and some are naturally occurring in your body. It is not sure how many substances can act as antioxidants, but there could be thousands, and each has its role and can interact with others to help your body work at its best.
Antioxidants can be found, for example, in green and colourful fruits and vegetables, and also vitamins and minerals like Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamins E, Selenium, and Beta-carotene, all of which act to protect your healthy cells against the damaging Free Radicals.
#2: They fight Free Radicals
Free Radicals, otherwise known as reactive oxygen species (ROS), are unstable molecules that can damage cells. They are produced during normal metabolism, but their production can be increased by certain external factors, such as smoking, exposure to environmental pollutants, food additives, and the over consumption of certain carbohydrates such as grains and their many by-products.
Consuming too many of the wrong kind of carbohydrate can be more taxing on the body than consuming fat because sugar has a fundamental biochemical property that makes it sticky and abrasive, with the potential to cause harm. This forces the body to release an excess of insulin in order to remove the damaging substance by either stashing it away or converting it into fatty acids, also increasing your body weight and impairing your overall health.
Body fat, on the other hand, is safely broken down into fatty acids and glycerol, which can be used for energy or converted into ketone bodies. Ketones are a safe alternative fuel source and produced when the body does not have enough glucose for energy, the metabolism of both body fat and ketone bodies are less likely to produce an excess of Free Radicals compared to glucose.
Free radicals are unstable oxygen molecules that seek out and pair up with healthy cells to make themselves whole again. This process will weaken and damage the healthy cells and their DNA, and oxidation can upset the cells leading to health problems within the environment of your gut.
Too many free radicals in your body can cause oxidative stress and may contribute to an increased risk of gut damage and developing chronic diseases. Luckily for us, antioxidants can help prevent damage from too many free radicals floating around, they can move around in your body to help stabilise the cells, helping them to stay in their healthy and happy state.
#3: Most foods are antioxidants
Almost all food contains some antioxidants, but the amount varies a lot, therefore, it is essential to include various foods in your daily diet.
You can find antioxidants in both animal-based foods and plant-based foods. The amount is remarkably higher in plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables, beans, and nuts, but eggs and dairy products will also help you get a sufficient amount.
Even coffee and tea will help provide you with many antioxidants.
While it favours obtaining your antioxidants from foods, you can also get them from supplements.
#4: You can get them from Supplements
If you have a deficiency of antioxidants, you can obtain them through supplements but while the intake of antioxidants is essential for optimal health, you have to be careful not to overdo it. You have to be aware that excessive intake of antioxidant supplements can have toxic effects. So it’s recommended to avoid high doses of antioxidant supplements.
Some studies show that taking antioxidant supplements in large doses may decrease exercise performance. Other studies show that antioxidant supplements have no positive effect in preventing disease, except for Vitamin C, which, in large amounts, can relieve the common cold.
Eating plenty of antioxidant-rich whole foods like fruits, vegetables, and nuts is always preferable, as it is proven to reduce oxidative damage to a greater extent than relying on supplements alone.
#5: You can lower the risk of digestive distress
If you have too many free radicals in your body you will also have a higher risk of gut disorders, so when eating antioxidant-rich food, you could prevent or delay any damage caused to your gut environment.
Ensure you consume a wide range of green and colourful fruits and vegetables, and foods rich in antioxidants such as:
- Vitamin A – green leafy vegetables, yellow and orange vegetables, mango, fish oils, liver, milk, and eggs.
- Vitamin C – broccoli, brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, bell peppers, tomatoes, and citrus fruits.
- Vitamin E – nuts, seeds, oils, spinach, avocado, asparagus, mango, fish, and kiwi.
- Selenium – milk, yoghurt, cottage cheese, poultry, fish, brazil nuts, beans, and banana.
- Beta-carotene – Carrots, spinach, lettuce, squash, sweet potatoes, peas, apricots, herbs, and spices.
Including antioxidants rich food in your diet will help you fight free radicals, helping to avoid gut damage leading to improved health and well-being. They help your body stay healthy and lower the risk of digestive disorders and various diseases.
If you need supplements, it’s recommended not to take larger doses, but providing your body with food rich in antioxidants like fruit, vegetables, and nuts is favoured over supplements.
I hope that gives you some food for thought…you can download the guide using the button below!
Hi I’m Lizzy, a certified Primal Health Coach and Human Intestinal Microbiome Specialist with a focus on IBS and SIBO, helping you find your way to true gut health, allowing yourself freedom from discomfort while effortlessly managing your weight while giving you back your comfort & confidence.
I once suffered with Bloating & IBS and relied on exercise to manage my weight, until 2012 when I found something that turned this all around…and I’ve never looked back! I will teach you everything I know for you to be empowered with the knowledge to help you feel fantastic.