Antioxidants are the ultimate compounds to nourish your body from inside out and outside in. They not only help to protect the skin from free radical damage and other external factors, but they help to inhibit oxidation within the body. Read on to find out more about what antioxidants are and how they can benefit you.
What are antioxidants?
Antioxidants help protect skin cells from damage from external factors like the sun, pollution, wind, and temperature as well as internal factors like the presence of excess oxygen. Vitamins A, C, E, and beta carotene are all examples of antioxidants. They are necessary in the body because they combat free radicals which are a byproduct formed when oxygen is used by the body. Free radicals start a chain reaction under the skin's surface which damages the structure of our skin and weakens its cellular structure. Free radicals may also alter DNA, resulting in ageing and illness.
Free radicals can come from air pollution, sunlight, alcohol, and cigarette smoke amongst other things and it suggested that ageing is caused by the gradual increase in oxidation of body tissues over time. This means that as well as avoiding the forces that generate more free radicals, we need to get enough antioxidants both in our body and on our skin to combat the signs of ageing.
Where do antioxidants come from?
Antioxidants are produced naturally in plants and animals. In many cases, it is antioxidants which give colourful fruits and vegetables their colour, along with their health benefits. Good examples are carotenoids, which give carrots their orange colour and lycopene which gives us the red of cherries and tomatoes. Some antioxidants are colourless, for example vitamin E and vitamin C.
Sources of antioxidants in your diet
Here is a list of antioxidants and the foods you can find them in:
- Allium sulphur compounds - leeks, onions and garlic.
- Anthocyanins - eggplant, grapes and berries.
- Beta-carotene - pumpkin, mangoes, apricots, carrots, spinach and parsley.
- Catechins - red wine and tea.
- Copper - seafood, lean meat, milk and nuts.
- Cryptoxanthins - red capsicum, pumpkin and mangoes.
- Flavonoids - tea, green tea, citrus fruits, red wine, onion and apples.
- Indoles - cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower.
- Isoflavonoids - soybeans, tofu, lentils, peas and milk.
- Lignans - sesame seeds, bran, whole grains and vegetables.
- Lutein - leafy greens like spinach, and corn.
- Lycopene - tomatoes, pink grapefruit and watermelon.
- Manganese - seafood, lean meat, milk and nuts.
- Polyphenols - thyme and oregano.
- Selenium - seafood, offal, lean meat and whole grains.
- Vitamin C - oranges, blackcurrants, kiwi fruit, mangoes, broccoli, spinach, capsicum and strawberries.
- Vitamin E - vegetable oils (such as wheatgerm oil), avocados, nuts, seeds and whole grains.
- Zinc - seafood, lean meat, milk and nuts.
- Zoochemicals - red meat, offal and fish. Also derived from the plants animals eat.
Sources of antioxidants in your skincare routine
Here is Nourished Life's top 10 antioxidant rich favourite products:
- 100% Pure Super Fruits Serum
- Acure Firming Facial Serum
- 100% Pure Brightening Scrub
- Mukti Anti-ageing Night Serum
- Luk Beautifood Lip Nourish
- 100% Pure Super Fruits Eye Balms
- Dr. Alkaitis Treatment Oil
- Carla Oates GLOW Powder
- Cosima Nourishing Toner
- 100% Pure Healthy Skin Foundation