Raw Dietary versus Innate Antioxidants
Free Radicals are a normal part of metabolism. It is undesirable and impossible to completely stop the production of free radicals. It is only when an imbalance between antioxidants and pro-oxidants occur that damage becomes more extensive and can cause aging, disease and death. Dietary antioxidants play a critical and indisputable role in human health, well being and longevity. But, researches now know that dietary antioxidants are not the primary antioxidants inside the body. There are innate antioxidants that play the most important role in achieving and maintaining radiant health. Innate antioxidants are sometimes referred to as primary antioxidants, while dietary antioxidants are referred to as secondary antioxidants. Dietary antioxidants contribute to the antioxidant reserve. Yet as important and powerful as they are, they still play a secondary role to the body's own antioxidants.
Body's Natural Production of Antioxidants
The body naturally produces antioxidants to disarm free radicals and clean up any molecular messes they may have caused. Unfortunately, as the body ages, antioxidant defense begin to falter, allowing pro-oxidant free radicals to gain the upper hand. Innate antioxidants evolved as an intrinsic part of human life. These innate antioxidants play a critical role in our defense, in growth, and in almost every aspect of our life. They play a central role in our overall health and in the aging process. Innate oxidants such as Super oxide (SOD) and Glutathione Peroxides (Gpx) provides the first line of defense against oxidative stress.
Under stressful circumstances, excess super oxide, a highly reactive pro-oxidant free radical (also called an ROS, or “reactive oxygen species”) generated through the oxidative metabolism in the mitchondria or as a byproduct of various cytoplasmic oxidizes, is broken down to oxygen and H2O2 (hydrogen peroxide) by the innate antioxidant SOD, or is scavenged with other pro-oxidants, such as nitric oxide.
A Pragmatic Approach to Improving Our Antioxidant & Pro-Oxidant Profile
No single antioxidant and simple group of antioxidants will save the life of people who eat poorly and live unhealthful lifestyles. Success can only be achieved by living a healthful life. This means avoiding the sources of excessive pro-oxidants and nurturing the antioxidant functions of the body through one's lifestyle. It is absolutely certain that avoiding pollutants such as radiation, tobacco smoke, and toxic and carcinogenic chemicals is critical in maintaining human health. And to protect our health, it is essential that our body is ready for whatever life throws our way.
The Right Sources of Food
Certain foods within raw organic products support innate antioxidants within the body. He Shou Wu, Ginseng, the Reishi mushroom and Goji berries are examples of powerful innate antioxidant super foods. They have all been shown to promote the production and the healthy functions of innate antioxidants like SOD. Not surprising, these herbs have gained reputations over many centuries as “longevity herbs” and “anti-aging herbs. Scientifically, these herbs have not yet been “proven” to be longevity or anti-aging herbs (this will take thousands of research projects, million of dollars to prove what the ancient people have already proven). The same can be said for many “superfoods” such as chlorella, hydrilla, ashitaba, cereal grasses, tonic mushrooms such as Shiitake, seaweed such as Laminaria, and so on. Almost all “superfood” are excellent sources of antioxidants, and they are all, by definition, very nutritionous. So, please do make sure to pay attention to these wonderful superfoods, and use them in your daily lives.
By TTS Cofounder Botanical Chef Omid Jaffari