The Truth About Antioxidants

Staff Writer
Scientists now claim that antioxidants may not have the cure-all properties that many people associate it with

Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

Nutritionists are now cautioning consumers that more isn’t necessarily better when it comes to antioxidants.

Lately, researchers and nutritionists have begun to raise doubts about the true health benefits of antioxidants after debunking one myth that consuming antioxidants could increase a woman’s chance of conceiving. 

Antioxidants became a common household buzzword in the 1990s, when researchers began to link chronic diseases, like cancer, to the free radical damage caused by oxygen-based reactions. The antioxidants found in certain fruits and vegetables then became a powerful weapon against chronic disease, as they could naturally stabilize the free radicals.

Since the 90’s, antioxidants have taken off in popularity, with certain processed products on the market now able to earn a “high in antioxidants” label.  Nutritionists warn, however, that more isn’t necessarily better when it comes to antioxidants.

One common misconception is that antioxidants take a single form, and scientists, like the toxicology researchers from the Maastricht University in the Netherlands, are working to debunk the “all-or-nothing beliefs about antioxidants.”

As with the controversy over fiber, advertisements and marketing techniques have created a culture in which people now believe that foods promoted as having antioxidants or as “superfruits” can cure all of their ailments and make them healthier without requiring them to make any further lifestyle changes.

These researchers note that you can consume antioxidants in a range of forms, from nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene, to minerals like selenium, which all can have a different effects on your body’s cells. Like all vitamins and minerals, antioxidants are a key part of a healthy diet when consumed in moderation.

Try incorporating natural sources of antioxidants, like cranberries, tomatoes, and peppers into your diet to get your fix.

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