Antioxidant is a popular term in all health care articles. We always encounter such a term whenever we read or browse health articles in the papers, books or magazines. Moreover, almost all advertisements and commercials of beauty and health products always mention antioxidants.
The question to ask ourselves to be able to understand the sudden hype about antioxidants is to know what it is and what can it do to our body.
Antioxidants are chemicals that prevent the oxidation of other chemicals. In biological systems, the normal processes of oxidation produce highly reactive free radicals that can readily react with and damage other molecules which may continue to damage even the body's own cells. Antioxidants play the housekeeper's role, "mopping up" free radicals before they get a chance to do harm in your body.
Although all the hype about antioxidants slowing down the signs of aging and promoting skin rejuvenation do not have a solid scientific basis, most skin experts are claiming that antioxidant vitamins and minerals can help in our overall well being by combating the free radicals in our body.
Here are several antioxidant nutrients which appear the most likely to produce benefits to your skin.
> Vitamin A or Beta Carotene. It has been discovered that beta-carotene protects dark green, yellow and orange vegetables and fruits from solar radiation damage and it is thought that it plays a similar role in human body. Carrots, squash, broccoli, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, kale, collards, cantaloupe, peaches and apricots are particularly rich sources of beta-carotene.
> Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) is a water-soluble compound that fulfills antioxidant role, among others, in living systems. Important sources include citrus fruits (like oranges, sweet lime etc.), green peppers, broccoli, green leafy vegetables, strawberries, raw cabbage and tomatoes.
> Vitamin E is a principal fat-soluble antioxidant vitamin in the body. It protects cellular membranes, lipoproteins and other "oily" structures. Skin is high in unsaturated fatty acids ("oily" molecules especially susceptible to free radical damage), and can benefit from vitamin E protection (both oral and topical). Sources include wheat germ, nuts, seeds, whole grains, green leafy vegetables, vegetable oil and fish-liver oil.
> Flavonoids are a diverse group of plant pigments with antioxidant properties that contain proanthocyanins and polyphenols that are good for the skin. These substances are responsible for color in many fruits, vegetables and flowers. In addition to providing color that attracts insects or animals, these pigments protect plants from environmental stress.
In addition to being potent antioxidants, some flavonoids have antiallergic, anti-carcinogenic, anti-viral and anti-inflammatory activity. Over 4,000 flavonoids have been characterized and classified, but only a few have been researched.
> Coenzyme Q10, lipoic acid, cysteine and methionine
are potent antioxidants.