Nowadays, there is lots of talk about antioxidants when it comes to food and health. But what exactly are they? Demystifying here the virtues of these promising compounds!

About antioxidants

In the Beginning: Free Radicals

The free radicals are unstable chemical molecules, mainly synthesized in the cell upon reaction with oxygen. This chemical instability makes them highly reactive substances. In principle, they are produced in small quantities by the body and do not constitute a problem. In fact, the body needs free radicals to fight infection, slow the growth of cancer cells and regenerate tissue [1]. However, with age, the body's antioxidant defense system weakens, leaving free radicals multiply at will... And that's where it becomes problematic!

Oxidative stress on an apple

In addition to aging, many factors affect the balance of free radicals in our system and create what is called oxidative stress [2]:

Causes of oxidative stress

The multiplication of free radicals can cause joint pain, skin aging, some cancers, heart diseases, neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, intoxication with drugs, etc [3]. Read our article on free radicals for more details!

So, Antioxidants…?

Antioxidants are compounds that help protect body cells from free radicals surplus produced by the body and caused by the outside factors. They can take many forms [4]:

  • A vitamin such as vitamins A, C or E
  • Plant chemicals like flavonoids and carotenoids
  • A mineral such as selenium

Antioxidants are your best weapon to help you reduce your risk of developing the diseases mentioned above. Furthermore, oxidative stress has been implicated in the pathogenesis of many human diseases; the use of antioxidants in pharmacology is intensively studied in this direction [5]. Want to learn more? Read our article about the role of antioxidants.

Polyphenols

Polyphenols are plant pigments which are assigned multiple roles [6] :

• Possess an anti-inflammatory and protective DNA
• Strengthen the cell membranes (hemorrhoids, varicose veins...)
• Improves the immune system
• Ensure the antioxidant capacity of the blood and fat balance (cholesterol, triglycerides)
• Reduces symptoms of menopause (influence on hormonal balance)
• Increase the activity of vitamins A and C
• Reduces healing time of wounds and ulcers
• Relieve pain of arthritis
• Hereby dental bleeding (associated with vitamin C)
• Contribute to maintaining a normal weight

 Polyphenols in drinks

As mentioned in one of our previous articles, polyphenols have a great potential. Tests conducted at Laval University have demonstrated that the hazelwood extracts used by Pure Hazelwood are very rich in polyphenols [7]. Pure Hazelwood necklaces and bracelets are the best complement to good eating habits and a healthy lifestyle!

Try Pure Hazelwood products now!_________________________________________

[1] Health Check Systems, “Understanding Free Radicals and Antioxidants”, http://www.healthchecksystems.com/antioxid.htm

[2] Health & Business, “What is Oxidative Stress? ”, http://www.geneactivatornrf2.org/oxidative-stress/#.VNJCLi5KJyF

[3] ShareCare, “How do free radicals affect the body? ”, http://www.sharecare.com/health/wellness-healthy-living/how-free-radicals-affect-body

[4] EatRight Ontario, “What you need to know about antioxidants”, http://www.eatrightontario.ca/en/Articles/Antioxidants/What-you-need-to-know-about-antioxidants.aspx?aliaspath=%2fen%2fArticles%2fAntioxidants%2fWhat-you-need-to-know-about-antioxidants#.VNJGIy5KJyE

[5] Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antioxidant

[6] Paul Van Herzele PharmD, http://www.zoelho.com/ZoelhoFR/Publish/index.htm#t=Definities%2FPolyph%25C3%25A9nols.htm

[7] Pure Hazelwood, « Our research », http://www.purehazelwood.com/en/blog/our-research/