Antioxidants and Inflammation – Best Defense Against Aging


The signs of aging include more than only gray hair and wrinkles but also decreased brain function, memory loss, and an increasing risk for chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer and osteoporosis.

Healthy aging is also described as living a longer, healthier life, which translates to quality of life. Many studies have substantiated the connection between a healthy diet and prevention of chronic or age-related illnesses.

In fact, recent studies suggest that 78% of all chronic degenerative diseases are diet related. Combine this with the fact that 90% of all visits to Physicians offices are stress related and you have a remarkable blue print for enhancing the quality and longevity of your own life – if you implement some simple and consistent changes.

The best way to get a defense against aging is to adopt a healthy lifestyle that include regular mild physical activity, corresponding rest, giving smoking up, and a diet full of healthy foods and drinks. Dietary choice is good to detain the beginning of aging and age-related diseases. Besides the sooner you start, the greater the advantage.

Some foods and drinks include powerful substances called phytonutrients. Some researchers believe that they are able to unlock the key of longevity. Phytonutrients belong to the antioxidant family; they scavenge free radicals, which are toxic chemicals that play a role in the onset of diseases such as heart disorders, osteoporosis, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.

As we getting older, we become more sensitive to the long-term effects of oxidative stress and inflammation on the cellular level. An oxidative stress is a condition of organism when the body basically has too many free radicals. Researchers believe that antioxidants and other age-defying compounds help cells prevent harm from free radicals and reduce the impact of aging.

Apart from the antioxidants, some other components in foods can affect aging. Experts affirm that they can be organized accordingly to their impact on inflammation at the cellular level.

Most dermatologists hold the opinion that all foods set in three categories: pro-inflammatory, neutral, and anti-inflammatory. You can help to slow aging at the cellular level by consuming foods that are anti-inflammatory and rich in antioxidants.

Age-related changes may be slowed, stalled and even eliminated, by taking foods and drinks that are rich in a great number of components, including antioxidants, and are anti-inflammatory, like cold-water fish and richly colored fruits and vegetables. On the other hand, pro-inflammatory foods can quicken aging.

If we consume large amounts of saturated or Trans fatty acids, starches, and sugars, insulin levels surge and quicken the process of aging.

While the benefits to eating healthy are many, expert note that diet is definitely not the only element that affects the process of aging. Hormones, stress, ultraviolet light, and a weakened immune system also promote aging.

Antioxidants Provide Four Levels of Defense

antioxidants-inflammation-1-fruitDefense One: Antioxidants prevent oxidants (otherwise known as free radicals) from forming inside your body. To understand this, consider what happens to a lead pipe when exposed to oxygen-it rusts, right? Well, similarly, the body, when exposed to oxidation, essentially “rusts” from the inside out.

Defense Two: Antioxidants intercept and neutralize oxidants that have already formed inside the body, putting the brakes on the chain reaction that just one free radical can cause. A good analogy here is the game nobody plays anymore-dominos. Like a string of carefully lined-up dominos, once the first one falls, the rest are inevitably next. Likewise, antioxidants neutralize the line-up of free radicals and break the chain reaction so inflammation is halted.

Defense Three: Antioxidants are actually able to identify and address the remnants of an inflammatory response so those remnants don’t prolong the damage. Like a hurricane relief crew, antioxidants mop up behind the whirlwind of an immune system we all have, leaving only healthy, balanced cells and tissue.

Defense Four: As they travel throughout your system, antioxidants continue to check and recheck that toxins have been removed and oxidants have been neutralized. By keeping a sufficient amount of antioxidants you are providing a 2nd and even a 3rd line of defense to your cells.

These four functions are basically the role of all antioxidants.

Unleash the Antioxidants
When it comes to fighting inflammation, it seems that everyone knows by now that antioxidants are the heroic arch-enemy of those annoying inflammatory agents called free radicals.

The key is to know which types of antioxidants pack the most firepower in the fight against inflamed muscles, joints and organs?

Once you know this, you could really unleash these awesome free radical fighters and make a big healthy leap forward each and every day!

So, where can one find the most powerful antioxidants? The answer is twofold, and quite interesting, but let’s get one confusing factor out of the way first.

Antioxidant or Not?
Unfortunately, the word “antioxidant” has been used so much in the hyping and advertising of food products, supplements and energy drinks that it is quickly joining the likes of “organic”, “healthy” and “diet” in becoming an ambiguous, almost meaningless term.

The sad fact is you cannot really trust a product label (or the media) to tell you whether that item is truly a healthy, powerful antioxidant.

For example, you can browse any juice aisle at the market and see the word antioxidant on just about every bottle but, if that juice is packed full of refined sugar, preservatives (and who knows what else) can you really say that it is a beneficial antioxidant? Probably not!

Likewise with vitamins. As you know, all vitamins are not created equal and what is stated on the outside of the bottle may not be present inside the bottle.

Even vitamins or supplements from legitimate suppliers that are good sources of antioxidants come in so many mind-boggling varieties that it is hard to know where to start.

So, I’m sure you would like to know how to quickly and easily determine if something is truly rich in inflammation fighting, health building, safe and effective ANTIOXIDANTS?

Unleash The Antioxidants INSIDE Your Cells
antioxidants-inflammation-2The interesting fact is that your body is designed to create its own antioxidants. Indeed, our bodies have many built-in systems for fighting inflammation, disease and toxins naturally.

Theoretically, if your body were a perfect example of health and wellness, you wouldn’t need to spend one second thinking about or taking antioxidants. Your body would have already taken care of that itself!

As it is, given the toxic environment, stressful work lives, and nutrient stripped foods, our body really has trouble getting the job done. On top of that, we have all been guided by the health community to supplement these internally produced antioxidants with external antioxidants such as a specific set of foods, vitamins or herbal remedies.

So, simply put, there are two sources of antioxidants:

  1. Internal
  2. External

Internally produced antioxidants are naturally produced by your body and attack the free radicals of inflammation inside the cell. This is a powerful point we’ll explore in a minute.

Externally sourced antioxidants are what most of us hear about, all the time. These are the antioxidants we ingest, either through healthy foods such as berries or supplements, such as Vitamin C.

To understand this better, think of it this way. External antioxidants can be likened to temporary workers in a business, they only show up when you call them and, while they are valuable and an important part of any business, they don’t always perform that well. Whereas, internal antioxidants are like the solid, seasoned, experienced full-time employees. They show up every day, they work hard and know exactly what to do to get the job done right.

Now, there is no company in the world that would do well with nothing but temporary workers, but that is exactly how some of us approach the fight against disease and especially inflammation.

We get so focused on the ORAC value of an external antioxidant sources such as a food or supplement that we don’t think to enhance our production of internal antioxidants, the “full-time employees” that are sorely lacking in most of us.

The Bottom Line
If you really want to unleash a flood of powerful healing, calming and invigorating antioxidants, do everything you can to boost your own internal antioxidant production. This means increasing your personal glutathione levels. Glutathione is known as the “master antioxidant” because it is not only a powerful antioxidant in and of itself but it also enhances the efficacy of other (external) antioxidants.

Boosting your levels of glutathione has two beneficial results: 1) since glutathione is made at the cellular level (inside each cell of your body) it actually fights inflammation or free radicals that may make their way inside the cell where severe damage can be done. This is extremely critical. 2) Since glutathione works together with external antioxidants such as Vitamin C and food sources with a high ORAC value, it extends the time period they stay effective, increasing the extra benefits you get with each dose.

So, when it comes to external antioxidants like vitamins, diets and supplements, stop focusing on which one has the highest ORAC, or which one is being touted as THE best antioxidant by the latest guru and just find a few foods, that you like to eat, which are a good source of antioxidants and eat them regularly. Then, pick a quality antioxidant supplement or two to serve as an insurance policy in case your diet takes a temporary dip. That’s it.

Put more time and attention toward “hiring those full-time workers”, the internal antioxidants made by YOUR body for YOUR body and soon you’ll have a steady flow of antioxidant power cooling your joints, fighting diseased tissue, preventing infection and rewarding you with health.

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About Author

Published author, international speaker, and complementary care expert, Dr. Richard A. DiCenso has over 30 years experience in treating the chronic symptoms of Vicious Cycle disorders (VCD). With his extensive experience in "Whole Person Therapy", he is the leading authority in Biological Fluid Analysis. See my profile page for more information!

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