In our fight against the global pandemic, we all need to boost our immune systems from the food we eat. We often come across articles that mention that a particular food is rich in antioxidants and helps fight free radicals? Well, that sounds good, but what are free radicals?
What are they doing in your body, and are they even supposed to be there? Let’s get into the science of it before we understand the effects of antioxidants to strengthen our Immune system:
Antioxidants are known to protect against oxidative stress-the cell damage caused by the free radicals in the body.
We face all kinds of aggression in our daily lives, such as sunlight, smoke, radioactive radiation, intensive sports, and our daily digestion process. Conditions of illness, inflammation and a wrong diet also have adverse effects on our bodies.
These aggressions cause the creation of harmful substances in our body called free radicals that cause cell damage. Our bodies are made of trillions of cells that have a stable structure if they are healthy. Now, a free radical with an electron missing comes in contact with a stable, healthy cell and steals an electron from the healthy cell. This results in cell breakdown. This process continues with more free radicals breaking down the healthy cells in the body, causing a condition known as oxidative stress.
Some of the conditions that can cause oxidative stress include:
- Mitochondrial activity
- Excessive exercise
- Tissue trauma because of injury or inflammation
- Ischemia and reperfusion damage
- Consuming processed foods, artificial sweeteners, trans fats, and certain additives and dyes
- Environmental pollution
- Exposure to drugs, pesticides, and chemicals
- Industrial solvents
Oxidative stress, fostered by free radicals, is linked to a host of diseases. These include cancer, heart disease, strokes, arthritis, immune deficiency, respiratory infections, Parkinson’s disease, emphysema, and other ischemic and inflammatory conditions.
What are antioxidants?
Antioxidants are the good guys. As the name suggests, antioxidants can slow down or prevent the oxidation of other molecules, generally trapping free radicals from continuing their destructive behavior. They are primarily known for neutralizing free radicals and stopping them from causing damage to the body cells.
Antioxidants and free radicals have some things in common. They are both chemicals. Both of them are found naturally in your body. The production of both can also be increased by diet and environment, respectively. In terms of the relationship between the two, antioxidants block the activity of free radicals. In other words, free radicals are the bad guys, antioxidants are the good guys, and they stop the free radicals from doing what they do.
These are not enough to do their job, and that is where dietary supplements and certain foods come in. Plenty of foods can supply antioxidants, such as blueberries, red kidney beans, cranberries, raspberries, garlic, green tea, and more.
When cell damage occurs, the results can be:
- Disruption in the electron transport chain.
- Activation of phagocytes, similar to white blood cells that combat infection.
- Excess release of free copper or free ions.
- Increased enzymes that generate more free radicals.
All the above lead to oxidative stress. Oxidative stress can lead to cell changes caused by free radicals. This may result in vision loss, atherosclerosis, and cancer. Consuming more antioxidants can help reduce these risks.
Role of antioxidants to strengthen your Immune System
As explained earlier, antioxidants slow down the aging process by battling the free radicals in the body.
The following fact can back up the above statement.
In 1945, chemist Denham Harman proposed that aging results from cellular damage caused by reactive molecules. These build up in the body and are called free radicals. Hence, it was believed that molecules that neutralized free radicals known as antioxidants are suitable for maintaining good health. By the 1990s, many people started taking antioxidant supplements. Since then, global antioxidant demand has risen from 2.1 billion US dollars in 2013 to 3.1 billion US dollars in 2020.
As a result of the imbalances between free radicals and antioxidants, there is tremendous oxidative stress on the cells within our body. Studies have shown that oxidative stress contributes to several illnesses, including heart diseases, autoimmune disorders, cancer, and aging. The body has its mechanisms to counteract excess levels of free radicals, the primary ones being antioxidants.
Antioxidants are the molecules that help in neutralizing the excess free radicals and protect against toxicity, including cell death, thereby contributing to disease prevention. They can act as defense agents at different levels. This can help decrease the formation of free radicals, scavenging for active radicals to stop chain reactions and moving oxidative proteins to prevent accumulation within the body.
Where can we find antioxidants, and how do they help our immune system?
Some antioxidants are produced within the body itself, and these are known as endogenous antioxidants. Those that are derived from outside the body are exogenous antioxidants.
Antioxidants are derived from outside the body, through natural food sources. They are present as vitamins, minerals, carotenoids, and polyphenols, among other nutrients in your food. Some antioxidants that need to be added to your diet immediately are:
- Selenium prevents diseases, fastens the body’s natural antioxidant-making process, and is found in fish, grain, and garlic.
- Vitamin E in almonds, mangoes, and broccoli fights heart diseases, boosts immunity and makes skin look young.
- Vitamin C in citrus fruits protects DNA and blood vessels, reducing heart attack and stroke risk.
- Carotenoids in sweet potatoes, carrots, and tomatoes prevent cell damage and protect eyes and skin from the Sun.
- Isothiocyanates in broccoli, radish, and cabbage play a cancer-protective role.
- Polyphenols prevent memory loss, diseases and can be found in dark chocolates, red wine, tea, and coffee.
- Coenzyme Q10 from legumes, soy, sesame seeds, and spinach prevents migraines and lowers blood pressure.
- Lycopene gives the red color to fruits such as tomatoes and watermelons and reduces the risk of prostate cancer.
- Zinc found in seafood, lean meat, chickpea, and milk boosts the immune system and gives excellent-looking hair.
The master antioxidant -Glutathione produced in the body:
Glutathione is a substance that combats the problems related to oxidative stress. Glutathione helps repair or counteract the breakage and unraveling of cells that free radicals or oxidants tend to cause. Glutathione helps in restoring the caps known as telomeres that are found at the end of chromosomes. So, if that cap is broken, the DNA can unravel, which is terrible for the body. There are many other ways it can keep cells healthy.
Glutathione does everything from fighting nerve damage caused by something such as Lyme disease to repairing cell damage that happens during chemotherapy. Its broad usefulness in repairing the damage caused by free radicals explains why it is also referred to as the “master” antioxidant. This substance is mainly produced in the body.
Unfortunately, with aging, the production of glutathione reduces. When people reach 40, they produce 30% less glutathione, and by 65, this can be reduced to 50% or even more.
You can help improve the levels of glutathione in your body by the food you eat.
You should eliminate the following components from your diet to lessen oxidative stress:
- Processed food.
You can improve the level of glutathione through:
- Aerobic training
- Weight training
- Combination of weight and aerobic exercise.
Certain supplements can help strengthen your immune system. Regarding boosting your immunity with supplements during the pandemic, you want to look for supplements that contain antioxidants, zinc, and sulforaphane. Antioxidants tend to have a high ORAC score which stands for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity and therefore afford to be agents that allow the scavenging of free radicals. This prevents inflammation in the body. For example, research into antioxidants has shown that these agents effectively inhibit corona viral-like infection.
Resveratrol is effective against the Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome coronavirus. Resveratrol is the most potent protector against symptoms of aging, free radical damage, and increased mitochondrial synthesis. It also makes your body less insulin-resistant. Hence it is a phenomenal supplement ingredient for diabetes and weight loss.
Research suggests that Vitamin C and D could reduce the risk of Covid 19 infections.
Zinc and Sulfurophanes are both antiviral agents that have cell-protecting properties and can strengthen immunity. Research shows that zinc can inhibit the replication of coronavirus.
Beta-glucans are a type of sugar found in the cell walls of mushrooms, algae, and other funguses. They are perfect for people susceptible to upper respiratory tract infections.
Quercetin is believed to be one of the best antihistamines in the market. It is a plant flavonol from the flavonoid group of polyphenols. It can stabilize the mast cells in the body and reduce inflammation. A mast cell serves the same general purpose in the body as the central nervous system. Quercetin affects or regulates allergic responses, innate and adaptive immunity, autoimmunity.
Do you need to consume supplements if you are healthy?
People often think, “Do I need to take a supplement if I am already healthy?”
This is an excellent question. We all need to consider What is healthy? What does healthy mean? Does it mean not being under any medications? Not being grossly overweight?
Well, the definition of health should be someone that has :
- Amazing energy
- Great sleep
- No inflammation in the body
- Good digestion
- Good adrenals
A healthy person is someone who has everything working as optimum. Try to find someone like that? We all have body issues going on. So even if your health is good, you need to get food that has all the nutrients. But, how will you get all the nutrients from food because the soils are so depleted?
If you had a history of eating junk food, environmental factors would deprive your bodies of essential nutrients. So yes, you need supplements to support the weak links.
Munulex is an excellent blend of all the essential nutrients to boost your immune system. It has all the qualities of a good food supplement. The supplement ingredients keep your gut populated with all the good stuff, thus keeping you healthy. Moreover, there is a pandemic going on right now. You need to provide an umbrella cover to protect your body from respiratory illnesses.
So feed your mind with positivity, and take fantastic care of your body. Your mind and your physical body are all connected, and it all affects one another. Engage yourself with some amazing health rituals. Munulex would love to hear from you. We can help you fuel your body and enjoy a fantastic sense of well-being.