Question: There seems to be a lot in the news about antioxidants. What are they and should I be taking them?
BY Rebecca Laske 16 September, 2008 – 09:13
Answer: Antioxidants stop unstable oxygen molecules called oxidants or free radicals from causing microscopic destruction of the body’s tissues.
Free radicals are caused by everything from processed foods and pollution to stress and strenuous exercise. They are unstable oxygen molecules, which go on the rampage through the body.
The body has natural defences against them, and in the short term they don’t kill us. But years of oxidative stresses and strains can be the cause of premature wrinkles, less energy, lower fertility, early senility and more painful periods.
However, by making sure you take enough antioxidants should hold the oxidants in check.
Fortunately, antioxidants are easily obtained. Foods that are rich in antioxidants include green or orange coloured vegetables, citrus fruits, unrefined oils, brewers yeast and whole grains.
For those of us who have a hard time eating our five portions of fruit and veg as it is, supplements may be the answer to our antioxidant needs.
Vitamins A, C and E, Selenium, CO Q10 and betacarotene are all readily available antioxidants.
For that extra boost, research has also discovered a super antioxidant called Pycnogenol.
Made from the bark of French maritime pine trees, Pycnogenol is thought to be the most powerful antioxidant available.
Japanese research found that it can protect your skin from ageing by making it more elastic and enabling your body to build better collagen.
Scientists in Finland and California discovered that Pycnogenol can halve the ageing effect of the sun on your skin, which is responsible for 80-90 percent of physical ageing.
Finally, scientists from Germany, France, Austria, and the USA separately discovered that Pycnogenol dramatically increases the skin’s blood circulation by strengthening the skin’s capillaries, which helps to remove and prevent thread and varicose veins.
Ask at your local health food shop for details.