What is an antioxidant? Antioxidants and the use of them is the buzz word these days, virtually everyone wants to use them and save themselves from the harmful effects of oxidation.
What is oxidation? Although all of us depend on oxygen to survive and we would be dead within minutes if we were to stop breathing, oxygen slowly corrodes different organs of our body over a period of time. The most impacted is the skin.
To see how oxidation works, do this simple experiment, cut an apple into two and leave it for a while on the table exposed to the air, and soon it shall turn brown! That is oxidation.
It is happening 24/7 to all living and non- living things, whether it is metals which corrode or fruits which go rancid, nothing gets saved from the harmful effects of oxidation.
Our skin is the organ which comes most in contact with oxygen and is deeply impacted by oxidation. Years of exposure to air or oxygen makes our skin dry, leading to wrinkling of skin.
When we are young, our bodies have an internal mechanism which helps in dealing with the harmful effects of oxidation, but as we age the body’s internal defenses keep going down leaving the body vulnerable to the harmful effects of oxidation.
In comes the use of anti-oxidants. For many years skin care cosmetics have been using anti-oxidant agents, as they help in slowing down ageing and wrinkling of the skin. Modern research and science is taking this effort to a new level. As scientists, dermatologists and beauty specialists understand the reasons for ageing and the impact of oxidation of the skin, newer research is developing modern cosmetics which have minimal side effects and maximum benefits.
New studies in stem cell research and nano technology, is creating micro and nano agents to prevent skin oxidation. But, there is an interesting aspect to this, the more science researches into the principle and impact of skin oxidation and its solutions; the more it throws up elements which have existed in nature for thousands of years!
The most potent anti-oxidants known to man thus are – Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and Vitamin A/ Retinol. Apart from these essential vitamins there are many more anti- oxidants like selenium available in nature.
Certainly anti-oxidants are a must have for purposeful skin care and to slow down the impact of skin ageing. This leads us to the final question; how do anti-oxidants help?
1. Anti-oxidants help in skin tightening:
As we age and grow old, because of oxidation and the UV rays of the sun our skin starts to sag. Anti-oxidants, help in holding and tightening of the skin, giving our skin a healthy unwrinkled look.
2. Collagen production:
Anti-Oxidants help in the natural production of collagen, the protein responsible for keeping our skin looking youthful and elastic.
3. Cell Regeneration:
Our skin regenerates dead cells virtually every day, research suggests our skin completely regenerates new cells every few months. Anti-oxidants like beta carotene help in regeneration of new cells and keeping our skin looking young and beautiful.
4. Cell ageing:
Another important area is cell ageing, anti-oxidants prevent our cells from ageing and delay the process ageing, thus increasing life of individual cells keeping the skin looking fresh for a longer period of time.
5. Damage of cells: As mentioned earlier our skin gets damaged due to exposure to air and sun, anti-oxidants helps in preventing this damage and protecting the skin from this damage.
Anti-oxidants are a key ingredient in prevention of premature ageing and protection from the harmful effects of the Sun and Air. What needs to be understood is that anti-oxidants should be used liberally both orally and on the skin.
The benefits of using anti-oxidants are long term and nature provides some excellent sources of anti-oxidants which can help. Here are some foods which act as anti-oxidants for our bodies.
- Vitamin C: It is the most important anti-oxidant. It is abundantly available in Kiwis, Oranges, capsicum, and lemons.
- Vitamin A: Vitamin A too is an excellent anti-oxidant; its natural sources are apricots, carrots, sweet potatoes, dark green leafy vegetables and tuna fish.
- Vitamin E: Vitamin E plays a vital role in skin care and health and it slows down the ageing of cells. Best sources of Vitamin E are Tofu, Spinach and almonds.
- Selenium: Selenium is a powerful anti-oxidant and is naturally found in Eggs, chicken and sunflower seeds.
- Water: Water is the most potent natural tool we have to fight ageing and wrinkling of the skin. Water hydrates the skin, making it soft and radiant.
A diet rich in anti-oxidants is surely going to help in making skin youthful and healthy. It shall also help in overall body health.
Diet not only means oral intake of the vitamins, but also their direct application on the largest organ the human body, the skin.
The modern life is full of stress, maintaining a healthy diet is important for a healthy life. Reducing intake of fast foods along with an increase in intake of fresh foods shall greatly help in preventing premature ageing of skin.
Regular exercise is important too in maintaining health and extracting the benefits of foods mentioned above. Exercise also helps in busting stress and pressures of modern living.
Regular exercise and diet program shall go a long way in overall health of not only the skin but the body. A holistic approach is required and eating the right kind of foods some of which are mentioned above, in the right quantity shall go a long way in keeping the skin healthy, glowing and young.
By Kleem Organics
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