We hear the term in commercials and see written on many of our favorite foods “rich in antioxidants”. Well, it is gratifying that something we have been eating for years is actually good for our health, but what, really are antioxidants and what are the benefits of antioxidants?
Antioxidants are found in vitamin C, E, beta-carotene and in trace minerals in many foods. These agents prevent free radicals, which are unpaired molecules from pollution, chemicals, and cigarette smoke from oxidizing and creating cell damage which can lead to many health problems, including premature aging, macular degeneration, and many types of cancer. Knowing this, the benefits of antioxidants are obvious, and as their name suggests, they prevent free radicals from oxidizing and damaging the body.
You can enjoy the benefits of antioxidants by eating certain foods rich in these agents such as buckwheat honey, ground flaxseeds and green tea. One of the reasons these foods are enjoying such popularity in recent years is the surge of interest in the benefits of antioxidants. You might want to take a multivitamin rich in antioxidants, but beware of overdoses of fat soluble vitamins such as vitamin E and vitamin K; these vitamins are stored in the fat tissue of the body, and really prove that you can have too much of a good thing. The benefits of antioxidants, such as vitamin E, far outweigh the risks as long as you avoid consuming mega doses.
Buckwheat honey has all the benefits of antioxidants with a sweet flavor as an incentive. A study was done at the University of California (Davis). All participants ate four tablespoons of raw (not used in cooking or added to tea) buckwheat honey a day and, within a short time, saw a significant increase in their antioxidant levels. Buckwheat honey seems to deliver more benefits of antioxidants than its lighter counterparts, and although many enjoy a spoonful of honey in tea, heat destroys some of the antioxidant properties of honey.