Are antioxidants really better for your personal health and weight loss goals? It’s time to find out the truth about antioxidants!
Part of functional medicine is understanding the healthiest choices that you can make for full-body wellness. When you look at what this means in terms of dietary choices, fruits and vegetables are pretty high-up on the must-buy list. While fruits and veggies have long been known as the healthy champions of the grocery store, there are some items that have started getting even more attention thanks to their high level of antioxidants.
As rumor has it, antioxidants can help prevent the development and growth of cancer, will boost fertility, and help your body stay young, fresh, and healthy. But is all this hype around antioxidants for real? Before you start adding anything new to your weight loss diet, it is time to get the story straight.
What are Antioxidants?
Antioxidants are by definition a substance that inhibits oxidation, which is the breakdown of any molecular structure by oxygen. You can witness oxidation happening around your home by seeing rust on items in your backyard. Oxidation happens in the body, as well, as a result of free radical damage—a natural byproduct of the body’s metabolism.
As of the early 1990s, antioxidants became a household name. The idea is that eating a diet that is rich in foods that have plenty of antioxidants in them, including foods like blueberries and pomegranates, that you will experience added health benefits. Many foods that have high levels of antioxidants are naturally healthy, but there has been a lot of questioning as to whether it is the antioxidants that are providing any of this health benefit.
After several decades of research, the consensus about antioxidants is as follows:
- In moderation, antioxidants can be a positive agent of health support. The antioxidants you do eat should come from healthy fruits and vegetables that you would be eating anyways as part of a healthy diet.
- There is no such thing as a super-fruit, and absolutely no evidence that eating a fruit like a pomegranate will prevent you from developing cancer or heart disease. Only a balanced healthy diet and lifestyle can help with that.
- Antioxidants are not going to extend your life, but they also aren’t going to kill you. So many research findings go to the most extreme conclusion, whereas the truth often falls somewhere in the middle. Eating a diet rich in vitamins and minerals can help prevent the onset of some disease, but there is no magic food item that will prevent any and every illness.
Making the healthiest choice possible in every dietary situation is the best way to maintain positive health as you age. Many foods that are rich in antioxidants are a healthy component of any diet, but that doesn’t mean you should go seeking out antioxidants to improve your health. For more information and support about making the right dietary choices, contact Dr. Waller.