Antioxidant nutritional powders are a delicious and easy way to add an extra nutritional punch to anything from your morning yogurt to your post-workout smoothie.

Read on to learn more about antioxidants and why they’re so important for your health.

WHAT ARE ANTIOXIDANTS?

Antioxidants are molecules that fight damage caused by free radicals. But what does this even mean?

Free radicals are unstable molecules formed in the body. For a molecule to be stable it has to have the correct amount of electrons. If that molecule loses an electron, then it becomes unstable and is called a free radical. These molecules are now electrically charged and will react to other molecules and damage them. For example, free radicals can make an LDL (“bad”) cholesterol molecule more susceptible to getting trapped in an artery wall, or it can alter a cell’s membrane, changing what can go in and out of the cell.

What antioxidants do is bind to free radicals by donating their electrons. This makes free radicals stable and prevents their damaging effects. That isn’t to say that all free radicals are bad. In fact, sometimes free radicals can serve specific functions to ensure our survival. For example, the immune system uses free radicals to kill off infecting bacteria. What we need is the right balance between free radicals and antioxidants to keep these undesired damaging effects in check. 

When there are excessive free radicals in the body this state is called oxidative stress. Free radicals are constantly being formed by the process of our body turning food into energy, but external factors can lead to excess free radical formation. External factors can include:

  • Air pollution

  • Cigarette smoke

  • Alcohol intake

  • Toxins

  • High blood sugar levels

  • Consuming large amounts of polyunsaturated fatty acids

  • Radiation, including excessive sunbathing

  • Infections by bacteria, fungi or viruses

  • Excessive intake of iron, magnesium, copper, or zinc

  • Too much or too little oxygen in the body

  • Intense and prolonged exercise, which causes tissue damage

  • Excessive intake of antioxidants, such as vitamins C and E

Prolonged oxidative stress can contribute to the aging process, increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and even increase the risk of cancer. While the human body can produce its own antioxidants, we get additional antioxidants from the foods we eat because plants and animals also produce antioxidants to protect themselves from oxidative damage. Fruits and vegetables are a more potent source of antioxidants compared to meat.

TYPES OF ANTIOXIDANTS

Different types of compounds can be antioxidants, including some vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals. Scientists think there are potentially tens of thousands of compounds that have antioxidant properties in our food! Here are some examples of known antioxidants: 

  • Vitamin C

  • Vitamin E

  • Beta-carotene

  • Selenium 

  • Manganese

  • Glutathione

  • Coenzyme Q10

  • Lipoic acid

  • Flavonoids

  • Phenols

  • Phytoestrogens

  • Anthocyanins

  • Catechins

  • Lipoic Acid

  • Lycopene

  • Lutein

The important thing to note about antioxidants is that they are not interchangeable. So Vitamin C cannot do the same antioxidant function as CoQ10. Each one has its unique chemical behaviors and biological properties. That is why it is important to get a wide variety of antioxidants from many different types of food sources. 

HEALTH BENEFITS OF ANTIOXIDANTS

Right now, it is difficult to tell how each individual antioxidant as there are just too many to research and it is difficult to know how each compound acts in the body once absorbed into our bloodstream. However, what researchers can do is find relations between certain foods and studied health benefits, and then determine what nutrients and antioxidant compounds are present in that food. 

Examples of health benefits from high antioxidants foods include:

Freeze-dried açai berries have the highest ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbency Capacity) value among all fruits and vegetables. An ORAC value is a laboratory measurement to determine the antioxidant capacity in foods. Blueberries contain the highest antioxidants among the most commonly consumed fruits and vegetables. Both blueberries and açai are high in an antioxidant called anthocyanin. Some health benefits related to anthocyanin are the improvement of cholesterol levels (decrease total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol), improve cognitive function, improved immune function, and possibly have anti-cancer properties.

Camu camu berries have a very high Vitamin C content -- about 60 times more vitamin C than the same weight of oranges! Other known antioxidants found in the camu camu are anthocyanin and ellagic acid. Vitamin C has been known to help the immune system and support the formation of collagen which supports bone, skin, and muscle development. Camu camu can be an effective anti-inflammatory, and the antioxidant ellagic acid has been shown to reduce a specific inflammation-triggering enzyme.

Maca root is a good source of vitamin C, E, and selenium. Other compounds with antioxidant properties include phenols, glucosinolates, macamides, and polysaccharides. These compounds not only neutralize free radicals, but they may reduce fatigue, reduce anxiety, help the body deal with stress, modulate the immune system, and have anti-inflammatory effects. 

Bee pollen granules contain nearly all nutrients required by humans. Some of the antioxidants found in bee pollen are flavonoids, carotenoids, quercetin, kaempferol, and glutathione. These antioxidants can help prevent atherosclerosis (clogging of arteries). Glutathione helps with liver detoxification and protects the liver from damage. Quercetin contributes to bee pollen’s anti-inflammatory properties. Antioxidant compounds also contribute to bee pollen’s immune boosting and wound healing properties.

HOW TO ENJOY THEM

While you can get antioxidants from eating a multitude of fruits and vegetables, a super-convenient way to get them is to add antioxidant powders to your smoothies, yogurts, cereals, or nutritional bars. Including these nutritional powders to a healthy diet that offers a variety of fruits and vegetables can ensure that you get all the benefits from the antioxidants that we do know about, and the estimated thousands of more antioxidants we have yet to discover.

Acai Powder
Our Raw, organic Brazilian acai berry powder is carefully ground and freeze-dried to help preserve t..
organic camu
This raw / certified organic Camu Camu berry powder by Giddy Yoyo is the perfect addition to yo..
maca root powder
Our organic, Peruvian maca root powder is the perfect vitamin and energy boosting addition to your d..
Bee Pollen Granules
Pure, 100% raw bee granules - often referred to as "natures perfect food" as it contains n..
wild blueberry powder
Our certified organic raw (Canadian!) wild blueberry powder is full of powerful vitamins, miner..
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