Antioxidants are a popular health substance that get lauded in many health and beauty products - but aside from the fact that they're good for us, what do you know about them?
It all starts with free radicals. These molecules are produced in response to environmental factors and also occur as a by-product to natural processes within our body. For example, when we exercise, digest food, are exposed to air pollution, UV rays or from smoking. Not all free radicals are damaging, but an accumulation of certain free radicals can damage cells and contribute to medical conditions like heart disease and some cancers.
Sometimes an imbalance can occur as our body fights to combat and counteract the effects of free radicals. This is known as oxidative stress. This is where antioxidants come in. Antioxidants help to regulate the damaging free radicals in our bloodstream. They neutralise free radicals to offset the effects that they have on our body.
The best way to increase your antioxidant intake is through your diet. Fruits and vegetables are naturally rich in nutrients, many of which contain high levels of antioxidants. While this is the most effective way of giving your body the antioxidants it needs, you may not be able to get all of the nutrients you need from food. If you’re missing a specific nutrient from your diet, are deficient in certain nutrients or suffer from a health condition that causes a nutrient imbalance, taking antioxidant supplements can help you to boost your intake.
Vitamin C makes up one of the three main antioxidant groups, along with vitamin E and carotenoids. It’s known most famously to help boost the immune system and as a way to relieve symptoms of the common cold thanks to its antioxidant potential.
Vitamin C is able to travel to every cell of the body, allowing it to target a number of different bodily processes. As well as counteracting free radicals and protecting against free radical damage, vitamin C also helps to support the cardiovascular system, lower blood glucose levels and reduce inflammation.
Citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, limes, tangerines and grapefruits have high concentrations of vitamin C, as well as vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower.
To achieve your daily intake or boost your existing vitamin C consumption, try a Wholefood Vitamin C Capsule. Each vegetarian capsule contains 105mg of natural bio actives which increase the antioxidant and natural immune boosting properties of Vitamin C.
Vitamin E is a category of fat-soluble vitamins that are stored in the body. It exists in eight different forms that each has its own biological activity, or strength of potency within the body.
Alpha-tocopherol is the most active form of vitamin E and one of the most powerful vitamin E antioxidants for limiting the production of free radicals. Vitamin E antioxidant supplements are usually made up of alpha-tocopherol acetate as it protects its ability to fight against free radicals.
Like vitamin C, this nutrient can help to improve blood flow. It can also help to reduce blood pressure, lower oxidative stress when taken in high doses over a sustained period of time and boost immunity and immune responsiveness.
Vitamin E is found in foods such as nuts, seeds, avocados and vegetable oils. These food types contain unsaturated dietary fat which help to improve the vitamin’s antioxidant properties. It’s also present in boiled broccoli and spinach.
Discover our Wholefood Multi Essentials Vitamin Complex which contains vitamin A, C and E to improve your antioxidant intake. It also contains a rich blend of other minerals and vitamins to help digestion, boost energy, diminish fatigue and promote vitality and wellbeing.
Carotenoids are naturally occurring, fat-soluble compounds. They’re a bright red, natural pigment that give tomatoes, pink grapefruit, guava, watermelon and papayas their colouring. Lycopene is a member of the carotenoid family, and is also a proven and potent antioxidant that can help to combat conditions like heart disease and cancer.
Lycopene can be found in natural produce containing dietary carotenoids, like fresh fruit and vegetables, however its free radical neutralising ability is much more potent in heat processed foods like tomato paste, juice or ketchup. These have a stronger bioavailability and provide greater protective effects as they contain concentrated sources of lycopene.
As well as slowing or preventing the progression of some types of cancer, lycopene can also reduce heart disease factors, protect against UV damage to a certain extent and have beneficial effects on your eyesight.
Many red or pink coloured foods contain lycopene, but the richest sources of this nutrient are sun-dried tomatoes, tomato purée. guava, watermelon and fresh tomatoes.
Fushi Saw Palmetto and Lycopene Extract supplements contain a hearty combination of Saw Palmetto berries to support the urinary system and prostate health, and lycopene to protect against oxidative damage in the body.
Coenzyme Q10, CoQ10 or ubiquinone, is a vitamin-like substance. It’s stored in the mitochondria of your cells, which is in charge of producing and transferring energy. It also protects cells from oxidative damage and neutralises free radicals. CoQ10 is produced in the body but the amount we create declines with age or with the development of diseases like Parkinson’s or asthma.
Large doses of CoQ10 have been reported to slow the progression of Parkinson’s disease and the deterioration of neurologic function. In women, it can help to slow the rate at which female fertility declines. With age, the number and quality of available eggs decreases, but CoQ10 can help to protect these eggs from oxidative damage.
Similarly, CoQ10 has been known to reduce the oxidative damage caused by UV rays on the skin. This helps to prevent and reduce the look of wrinkles caused by external factors.
CoQ10 can be found in small amounts in a wide variety of foods, but most commonly in fatty fish and meat. The highest concentrations of it can be found in organ meats like liver, kidney and heart.
If you’re looking for an easy way to get your CoQ19 fix, or you’re in need of a quick vegetarian solution, take a look at our Wholefood Energiplex For Active Lifestyles supplement. These caffeine-free and natural capsules provide an energy boost when you need it. We combine Siberian ginseng, gotu kola, beetroot, watermelon, inositol and folic acid with CoQ10 to support a wide range of bodily processes and promote a healthy lifestyle.
Tumeric has been used for thousands of years in India as a spice and medicinal herb. It contains compounds called curcuminoids, of which curcumin is one of the most powerful. Curcumin is a yellow pigment known for its anti-inflammatory properties, for neutralising free radicals and boosting the amount of antioxidants that the body naturally produces.
The curcumin content found in turmeric is relatively low, whereas turmeric extracts contain a more concentrated and higher percentage of curcumin. It’s important to look for these higher doses of curcumin in turmeric extracts if you’re purchasing curcimin supplements.
This natural pigment’s powerful anti-inflammatory effects are so strong that they have been known to match the effectiveness of some anti-inflammatory drugs - but without the side effects. Curcumin does this by blocking and suppressing molecules that cause inflammation.
Curcumin may seem like a super herb, however it doesn’t absorb as easily into the bloodstream as other antioxidant supplements on our list. To help this, it’s recommended to consume it with black pepper. Black pepper contains piperine, which enhances the absorption and effectiveness of curcumin. When looking for curcumin antioxidant supplements, always opt for one with piperine in it like our Turmeric C3 & Bioperine Extract high strength capsules. Alternatively drinking a Fresh-Pressed Turmeric juice is a great food form alternative to include into your diet too.
Spirulina is a type of algae that grows in fresh and saltwater. Known for its deep green blue colour, spirulina is one of the most nutrient-dense foods in the world, making it a must-have supplement to keep in your cupboard.
In its natural form, spirulina is a cyanobacteria. Similarly to plants, cyanobacteria convert sunlight into energy through photosynthesis. In order to reap the benefits of it, spirulina is dried and ground up into a powder that can be added to food and drink.
Amongst its long list of health benefits, spirulina is rich in antioxidants and has high anti-inflammatory effects. This is due to phycocyanin, which is the main active compound in spirulina. Phycocyanin is not only effective at fighting free radicals and combating oxidative damage, it also gives the algae its unique green colour.
Studies have also shown that spirulina can help to lower “bad” LDL cholesterol while increasing “good” HDL cholesterol, which may reduce the risk of heart disease. LDL cholesterol is susceptible to oxidative damage in your body, but spirulina has been proven to be effective at reducing the oxidation of harmful fatty structures. Large doses of spirulina can also reduce blood pressure levels.
Alongside this, spirulina is a popular alternative treatment for combatting the symptoms of allergic rhinitis. Allergic rhinitis is caused by an inflammation in the nasal passage, often triggered by environmental allergens like pollen, animal hair or dust. Spirulina can reduce sneezing, nasal congestion and itching associated with these allergens.
Free radicals are produced as a byproduct when we exercise, and spirulina not only helps to neutralise the harm that they can wreak upon our body, but it can actually boost exercise performance. Spirulina minimises muscle fatigue and enhances endurance and muscle strength. This makes it a great supplement for athletes or anyone looking for a natural boost to maximise the effects of exercise.
Our Spirulina Capsules are a convenient way to add this superfood into your diet. Organic and vegan, these capsules are made using only the freshest ground herbs from this season’s harvest.
Discover our full range of supplements to give your body an extra dose of goodness. From food grade oils and vitamins to superfoods and supplements, there’s something to suit everyone from our range of award-winning products.