Antioxidants in nutrition for beauty and health

Antioxidants in nutrition for beauty and health

The whole power of antioxidants is that they protect cells from the “attack” of free radicals. The latter appear in our body under the influence of external toxins on the body: radiation, cigarette smoke, sunlight and polluted air. Antioxidants in nutrition for beauty and health.

Internal toxins are also good — they “come into play” during digestion of food and when the acid-base balance is disturbed towards acidity. Another advantage of antioxidants is a natural and organic source of beauty from a distance.

Antioxidants are biological antioxidants that neutralize free radicals in the body.

(1) – “This study showed that rosacea has a negative impact on QoL, but a comprehensive approach to treatment, including antioxidant cosmetic treatment and a healthy lifestyle, especially dietary antioxidants, can improve the QoL of patients with rosacea.”

The importance and role of antioxidants. Antioxidants in nutrition for beauty and health.

Antioxidants are substances capable of suppressing oxidative stress and fighting free radicals. The latter are solid, liquid or gaseous molecules that are formed during chemical reactions with oxygen in the human body. They can pass through cell membranes, carrying nutrients, promote metabolism and the formation of an immune response.

In adverse conditions, under the influence of stress or improper nutrition, an excess of free radicals appears in the body. They create oxidative stress: they provoke premature aging and cell destruction. This process is accompanied by chronic inflammation in the body, in response to which even more free radicals are formed and even more healthy cells are at risk of destruction.

Only antioxidants can stop the destructive effects of free radicals. They give their electron to an empty radical molecule, which seeks to “fill in” the missing particle, taking it away from a healthy cell or molecule, and neutralizes it, which prevents the appearance of oxidative stress. In this way, antioxidants slow down, and sometimes stop, the development of severe chronic diseases and restore damaged cells of the body. Additionally, these biological compounds help slow down the aging process, strengthen the immune system, and normalize metabolic processes in the body.

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Types of antioxidants. Antioxidants in nutrition for beauty and health.

The human body is able to independently synthesize substances necessary to launch restorative and protective processes. Consequently, the cells of the body are able to form their own antioxidants, which are called enzymatic (endogenous). But the harmful effects of external factors that provoke the active spread of free radicals in the body gradually defeat the immune system. Due to acute chronic inflammation, the body gradually weakens, so the antioxidants synthesized by the body itself become insufficient. To replenish the norm, non-enzymatic (exogenous) antioxidants obtained by humans together with food come to the rescue.
The most famous non-enzymatic antioxidants:

Vitamin C;
vitamin E (tocopherol);
vitamin A (beta-carotene);
Coenzyme Q10;
polyunsaturated fatty acids;
flavonoids (found in vegetables);
tannins (source — tea, coffee, cocoa beans);
anthocyanins (red berries);
chemicals: selenium, copper, manganese, chromium.

Antioxidants can be of natural origin (these are substances that are found in various products) or synthesized artificially (they are available in the form of dietary supplements, food additives, medicines).

Symptoms of antioxidant deficiency. Antioxidants in nutrition for beauty and health.

The lack of antioxidants can be identified by the following signs:

  1. Fatigue, irritability, apathy.
  2. Bleeding gums.
  3. Reduced immunity, which provokes frequent colds, infectious diseases and long-term recovery from illness.
  4. Reduced performance.
  5. Sleep problems.
  6. Hair and teeth loss, brittle nails.
  7. Dry skin, loss of elasticity.
    8. Muscle weakness.

To get a sufficient portion of antioxidants, you need to adjust your diet by increasing your intake of fresh vegetables and fruits. This is the only acceptable way to self-medicate and self-diagnose. To identify a deficiency of nutrients and the need to take dietary supplements with an increased concentration of antioxidants, you should visit a doctor and take appropriate tests. When independently determining the deficiency and the consumption of additives, one may encounter such a phenomenon as the antioxidant paradox, in which useful substances have a toxic effect on the body and contribute to oxidative damage to body cells.

Which foods contain the most antioxidants
The main source of antioxidants received by the body on a daily basis are products of plant origin.

Smoothie with carrot, orange and ginger
Smoothie with carrot, orange and ginger

Vegetables rich in antioxidants: carrots; beetroot; broccoli, Brussels sprouts, white cabbage; bell pepper; spinach; tomato; pumpkin; artichoke; eggplant; onion; green vegetables; garlic.

Vegetables are rich in vitamin C. It is a powerful natural preservative that resists oxidative stress. Vitamin C is destroyed at high temperatures, so the main source is fresh fruits and vegetables: green salad, berries, citrus fruits. The daily recommended amount of vitamin C is 100 mg. It’s a handful of berries or a cup of salad.

The antioxidant beta-carotene is a bright orange pigment. Therefore, it is most often found in brightly colored fruits and vegetables: carrots, red sweet peppers, pumpkin. It belongs to fat-soluble vitamins, therefore, for maximum digestibility, it is better to combine it with fats: vegetable oil, cream.
The antioxidant lycopene contained in tomatoes is activated at high temperatures: most of it is in stewed tomatoes or hot tomato sauce. This antioxidant is able to lower the level of “bad” low-density cholesterol.

Broccoli cabbage is a unique source of glucoraphanin. When heated, the antioxidant sulforaphane is synthesized from it, which has a powerful antimicrobial and anticancer effect.

Fruits and berries
Sources of antioxidants: raspberries; cranberries; plums; blueberries; strawberry; citrus fruits; cherry; melon; sea-buckthorn; garnet; ashberry; grapes, etc.

Red berries contain anthocyanins. These antioxidants increase the digestibility of glucose and fats. They increase the sensitivity of cell membranes to insulin, which helps glucose get into cells and tissues faster. Blueberries and blueberries contain the most anthocyanins.


Apple masks
Apple masks

1. Beta-carotene

Where to find: pumpkin, mango, apricots, carrots, spinach, parsley Beta-carotene is a yellow-orange pigment. It qualitatively protects the body from viruses and stress, and also sponsors us with an indispensable component of vitamin A, which is converted into it with the help of our body’s enzymes.

2. Catechins

Catechins are organic polyphenolic compounds from the flavonoid group, a type of antioxidant. They are found in dark chocolate, apples, apricots, cherries, plums, strawberries, currants, raspberries, spinach, broccoli and many other foods.

In tea, catechins are one of the main components. Most catechins are found in white tea — 20-25%, and slightly less in green tea — about 18%. The higher the degree of fermentation of the tea leaf, the lower the catechin content.

Catechins have a lot of useful qualities:

reduce blood sugar levels;

reduce “bad” cholesterol and stimulate “good”;

promote fat burning;

increase the elasticity and permeability of capillary walls;

normalize the activity of the digestive system;

maintain fluid balance in the body;

they contribute to a more effective absorption of vitamin “C”;

They have antibacterial and antimicrobial effects, strengthening the human immune system.

3. Flavonoids
Where to find: green tea, dark chocolate, citrus fruits, onions, apples, pomegranate It is not surprising that flavonoids are now the main ingredient of many medicines, supplements and vitamin complexes. They are able to save us even from allergens and vascular spasms. The latter is achieved by regulating the degree of permeability in the walls of blood vessels — this significantly increases their elasticity.

4. Lycopene
Where to find: tomatoes, pink grapefruit and watermelon. In addition to the bright variety on the plate, lycopene is responsible for active metabolism, weight loss and can even reduce the spread of cancer cells.

5. Vitamin C
Where to find: oranges, berries, kiwi, mango, broccoli, spinach, pepper. Ascorbic acid, or vitamin C, is one of the main participants in hematopoiesis. It is indispensable for blood vessels and the immune system, as well as for the growth and development of connective tissues. However, the benefits of vitamin C are felt only if it enters the body in a normal amount — about 4 g per day.

6. Vitamin E (tocopherol)
Where to find: vegetable oils, nuts, avocados, seeds, whole grains. Vitamin E does not react to acids, high temperature and alkali, it cannot be dissolved in water and cannot be replaced by anything. Tocopherol improves cell nutrition, participates in hormone synthesis and reduces body fatigue.

7. Indoles
Where to find: cruciferous vegetables, i.e. broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower. This class of substances with its beneficial properties was discovered quite recently, having found out that radishes, broccoli, cabbage and other cruciferous plants are able to “protect” the body.

8. Anthocyanins
Where to find: eggplant, grapes, berries. Anthocyanin is mostly found in the peel of berries and has bactericidal properties. This antioxidant is highly appreciated by ophthalmologists, because it accumulates well in the retina and reduces the fragility of capillaries.

Apricot trifle with chia and microgreens
Apricot trifle with chia and microgreens

Antioxidants from freshly squeezed juices. Antioxidants in nutrition for beauty and health.

Freshly squeezed juices also allow you to get the right portion of antioxidants in a higher concentration than in one eaten fruit or a portion of berries. To get the optimal dose of vitamins, minerals and other useful substances, one glass of fresh or smoothies made from fresh vegetables, fruits or berries is enough.

Any juices are useful: fruit, vegetable, berry. Juices from dark berries and beets are best saturated with useful substances. But you should not abuse such drinks: they increase blood glucose levels.

Elena runs a private practice as a nutrition coach in the USA and many countries around the world.

I suggest:

Evaluate current meal plans and give general recommendations.

Individual consultations.

Making individual meal plans.

Recommend gradual dietary changes and consistent dietary practice.

Discuss the importance of balanced macronutrient intake.

To offer recommendations on eating behavior.

Promote the calorie recommendations set out by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, MyPlate, the Eatwell Guide in the United Kingdom, or other acceptable organizations.

(1) – US National Library of Medicine; Dietary Antioxidants May Support Cosmetic Treatment in Patients with Rosacea; Kinga Zujko-Kowalska, Formal analysis, Investigation, Writing – original draft, Visualization, Joanna Masłowska, Methodology, Resources, Data curation, Writing – review & editing,2 Małgorzata Knaś-Dawidziuk, Formal analysis, Writing – review & editing, Jadwiga Hamulka, Formal analysis, Writing – review & editing, and Małgorzata Elżbieta Zujko, Conceptualization, Methodology, Software, Formal analysis, Investigation, Data curation, Writing – original draft, Visualization, Supervision, Project administration, Funding acquisition Irene Dini, Academic Edito. Published online 2024 Mar 21.