You see antioxidants advertised in practically everything from baby cereal to low-carb beer. Some experts believe that antioxidants can prevent cancer, heart disease and aging. Other scientists are rather dubious about the health benefits of antioxidants. As with most things in life– the truth lies somewhere in between.
Antioxidants have the ability to subdue unstable molecules known as free- radicals. These bad boys are molecules that have lost an electron. Free radicals crash around cells interferring with routinue functions such as growth, repair and immunity. Things calm down when antioxidants provide the missing electron.
There is no shortage of antioxidants in our environment. The short list of antioxidant- rich items include vitamins A, C and E, olive oil, salmon, green tea, red wine tumeric and sunflower seeds. We have lots of laboratory studies that show anti0xidants can protect cells from free- radicals. In real life the results are not so clear. While we can see that people whose diets are high in antioxidant rich food have a lower risk of cancer and heart disease, when we take antioxidant supplements, the benefits are just not there.
But, and this is a very big but, one area where antioxidants perform well is on the skin. Antioxidants from green tea, soy oats and tumeric can protect the skin from sun damage. Antioxidants in skin care products have products have been shown to reduce sunburn and DNA damage from sun exposure. Antioxidant rich sunscreens not only reduce risk of skin cancer, it may protect against sun-related aging. Since about 90% of skin aging under age 60 is due to sun exposure, this is huge! Moisturizers, sunscreens, and make-up can all benefit from antioxidants.
On Friday I will be posting my Summer Beauty Tool Kit and not surprisingly, antioxidants will have a starring role.