Written by Hannah Marchese
We’ve all heard of antioxidants before, but do you really know what they are and what they do? We’re going to get real sciencey on you for a second here. Basically, antioxidants are compounds that prevent oxidation. The process of oxidation produces free radicals.
Free radicals cause damage to our cells, especially our skin cells. Free radicals can be found in the food we eat, the air we breathe, and just about everywhere in between. Basically, what we’re saying is, you literally cannot avoid them. In fact, you come into contact with them every single day.
If free radicals and oxidation are the bad guys in this scenario, then antioxidants are the hero of the story. They work overtime to counteract the effects of free radical damage.
Okay, science lesson over. Let’s get into the interesting stuff now. You’re probably wondering how this all applies to you and what it means for your health. When it comes to antioxidants, we want to load up on them to keep our cells as strong and healthy as possible. Your best bet is to boost your diet with foods and supplements that contain antioxidants.
Let’s dive in and explore some of the benefits of taking antioxidants!
What Are Some Examples of Antioxidants?
Now that you know what antioxidants actually are, we can talk about where you can find them. The good news is, you can find antioxidants in a ton of different foods and ingredients.
Here’s a quick list of some of the most common antioxidants:
- Beta-carotene (commonly found in pumpkins, carrots, spinach, parsley)
- Copper (commonly found in seafood, lean meat, nuts)
- Flavonoids (commonly found in green tea, citrus, red wine)
- Vitamin E (commonly found in avocado, nuts, seeds)
- Vitamin A (commonly found in sweet potatoes, carrots, egg yolks)
- Vitamin C (commonly found in citrus fruits, broccoli, spinach)
- Zinc (commonly found in seafood, lean meat, milk)
- Selenium (commonly found in seafood and whole grains)
As you can see, antioxidants can be found in many foods that you likely already consume on a daily basis. If you aren’t already eating various foods listed above (or other foods that are high in antioxidants), you should consider adding some to your daily food intake.
Now, let’s take a look at some of the many benefits of antioxidants.
Defense Against Oxidative Stress
We don’t want to sound dramatic, but oxidative stress is bad news. Like, really bad news. Oxidative stress is basically what happens to your body when oxidation occurs. This type of stress can have severe effects on your body. It can damage your cells and protein, which is why it’s one of the most common causes of aging.
Our skin is made up of cells and proteins called collagen. Oxidative stress can cause damage to collagen production, which then speeds up the aging process. Collagen is responsible for keeping our skin strong, healthy, glowing, and bouncy.
Basically, it’s extremely important to our overall health, but especially our skin health. Everyone should consider incorporating collagen!
Enhance Your Overall Health
While our body makes its own essential antioxidants to fend off free radicals and prevent oxidative stress, antioxidants are found in food that your body doesn’t make. These are not necessarily essential to your body’s fight against free radicals, but they are great for your overall health.
Foods that contain high amounts of antioxidants are incredibly nutritious and healthy. Leafy greens, fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and seafood are all essential parts of a healthy and balanced diet. All of these things provide incredible amounts of vitamins, minerals, and, of course, antioxidants.
Essential for Your Survival
We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you literally couldn’t survive without antioxidants. While we can't survive without different nutrients and vitamins, antioxidants are essential for us humans. The most important antioxidants are vitamin C and vitamin E.
Vitamins C and E are so important, your body generates its own cellular antioxidants. An example of this is glutathione, which is used to prevent the damage of cells in our bodies.
Antioxidants aren’t just essential for humans, but animals and plants as well. They also make their own cellular antioxidants.
As a result, you can find antioxidants in whole foods that come from plants or animals. See, we told you antioxidants were in a ton of foods!
What’s the Best Way To Increase My Intake of Antioxidants?
The #1 best way to increase your antioxidant intake is to eat foods that are rich in antioxidants! When you eat foods that are high in antioxidants, you are directly absorbing these nutrients, which is way better than taking, say, a vitamin C powder supplement.
When you eat it in food form, you are getting additional nutrients that help the antioxidants work better within your body. If you’re looking for some antioxidant-packed food ideas, we’ve got you covered.
Marine Collagen Bars
Our Kalumi BEAUTYfood marine collagen bars are the perfect snack for when you’re on the go or just need a quick boost of nutrients.
Each bar contains eight grams of marine collagen and 12 grams of protein. These bars are made to help you feel your best by giving you an energy boost and keeping you satiated.
The best part? They contain sweet potato, MCT oil, and cocoa butter, which are all super-rich in antioxidants!
A Big and Beautiful Salad
Try your hand at making an antioxidant powerhouse salad. The great thing about salads is that they are entirely customizable to your preferences. Start with a base of spinach, kale, and romaine. You can also just choose one of these leafy greens if you prefer.
Now it’s time for the add-ins. Toss a handful of nuts, like almonds, cashews, walnuts, and seeds like pumpkin, hemp, chia, on top of the lettuce. Then, slice up some veggies like carrots, sweet potatoes, and anything else you like. Top everything off with some avocado slices and a homemade dressing with lemon, olive oil, and garlic. Yum!
A Delicious Seafood Dinner
If you love seafood, you’re in luck. Seafood is high in antioxidants like selenium, zinc, and copper. And guess what?
Pretty much all types of seafood contain antioxidants! If you are serious about upping your antioxidant intake, stick to fatty fish like salmon, anchovies, mackerel, trout, and rainbow tuna.
Whether you want to prepare baked salmon, grilled shrimp, or try your hand at homemade sushi, you really can’t go wrong. Plus, seafood is absolutely packed with other nutrients, such as omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and marine collagen.
A Sweet and Indulgent Dessert
You heard us right; you can have your cake, and eat it too! Well, maybe not a whole cake. But, you can indulge in some dark chocolate and your favorite glass of red wine.
Red wine is high in flavonoids, which are a type of antioxidant. After all the super-healthy food you’re eating on this list, you deserve something sweet and delicious.
Pour yourself a glass of wine (or two) and grab a piece of your favorite dark chocolate. Don’t forget to curl up and have some self-care time!
By now, you know just how important antioxidants are for your body. They work hard to keep your cells strong, healthy, and free of oxidative stress. Without antioxidants, our bodies would simply not be able to function.
The great thing about antioxidants is that they can be found in foods you probably eat every single day. Most people are not deficient in antioxidants because they are in so many different foods. However, it definitely can’t hurt to start adding more into your daily diet.
Whether it’s through Kalumi BEAUTYfood bars, a healthy salad, or a heaping glass of red wine with a few bites of dark chocolate, make sure you're eating enough antioxidant-rich foods!
The total antioxidant content of more than 3100 foods, beverages, spices, herbs, and supplements used worldwide | NCBI
Antioxidants | The Nutrition Source | Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health
Antioxidant activity comparison of walnuts and fatty fish | NCBI