For years, one of the biggest buzzwords in skin and health has been antioxidants. But are antioxidant benefits all they’re cracked up to be?
Promising to help delay ageing, smooth wrinkles and fine lines, and ease age spots and sun damage, more and more products are harnessing the qualities of antioxidants to help us in our quest to look younger.
Yet, what are antioxidants really, and what do they do? Which ones do we need, and how do they benefit our skin?
If you have been looking to dose up on antioxidants to help you get back the glow, but don’t know where to start, then here are our top tips on introducing antioxidants into your regime.
What Are Antioxidants?
Antioxidants are wondrous things that occur in natural, plant-based foods, including fruits, vegetables, chocolate and even coffee and wine. Just to confuse you a little, there are thousands of antioxidants out there, including vitamins A, C and E and flavanols (found in chocolate) and lycopene (found in tomatoes).
Antioxidants pretty much do exactly what they say, working their magic by preventing cell damage caused by oxidants, or free radicals. Oxidants can be found in the environment, but they are also produced by our bodies to ward off viruses and nasties. However, if we have too many oxidants in the body, it can cause damage and even lead to diseases including cancer.
Get Antioxidant Benefits From These Sources:
Thankfully, nature creates some of the most fantastic sources of antioxidants. The foods we eat daily can be a great source, including blueberries, dark chocolate, red peppers, kiwi and grapes.
However, here are some of our favourites, all of which are found in our stellar line-up of Rejuvenated products:
Grape Seed Extract:
Grape seed extract (also known as GSE) comes with all sorts of benefits because it contains a type of polyphenol known as OPCs. While this may sound scientific, all you really need to know is that it is full of antioxidant properties, which can fight inflammatory free radicals.
These polyphenols are also thought to help ease blood pressure and boost the skin by improving elasticity (polyphenols bind collagen fibres, helping to improve skin elasticity). They can even help to heal wounds, protect against excessive sun exposure and ease inflammatory skin conditions, such as dermatitis.
You can find Grape Seed Extract in natural grape seed oil (which works a treat for a soothing massage), and also in our H30 Night Repair Capsules,which help you to wake feeling refreshed and renewed. Our H30 Night Repair contains a unique blend of potent antioxidants which offer super hydration while you sleep.
Many people haven’t heard of astaxanthin, but it is one of the most potent and powerful antioxidants on the planet. Astaxanthin, a type of carotenoid, gives certain seafood its vibrant, orange / red hue and is mainly found in marine life – think wild salmon, lobster, arctic shrimp, crab, certain algae, red trout and crab.
Although astaxanthin is fairly unheard of, it is often called the “King of carotenoids” and it is so impressive that its ability to fight free radicals is 6,000 times greater than vitamin C.
Thanks to its antioxidant qualities, it can protect against certain chronic diseases, reverse and ease ageing of the skin and ease inflammation. It is also thought to protect the heart, strengthen the eyes, boost brain health and even enhance workout performance and improve male fertility.
As well as being found in brightly-coloured marine life, astaxanthin is also found in our H30 Night Repair Capsules to help you wake to glowing, more radiant skin.
Pine Bark oil, found in the seeds of the pine tree, is another almighty antioxidant. The humble pine bark contains an impressive 40 antioxidants, and it works in synergy with vitamin C and vitamin C and even binds with collagen. Like grape seed oil, it is packed with OPCs, which are thought to be anti-ageing. They also protect the skin from UV rays as well as being anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-carcinogenic and anti-inflammatory.
More than 40 antioxidants are also present in the humble pine bark, and it works synergistically with vitamin C and vitamin E. It has anti-inflammatory properties, binds with collagen and helps to protect the skin from free radical damage.
As well as this, it is thought to ease aching muscles, boost circulation, relieve high blood pressure and help with symptoms of osteoarthritis.
You can also fine Pine Bark Oil in our H30 Night Repair Capsules.
For decades, scientists have scratched their heads and wondered why the French (who traditionally eat high fat diets and drink more wine) have fewer heart problems than many of us in the Western world – the French Paradox. The answer is thought to be thanks to a special phytonutrient called resveratrol, which is found in red wine.
Resveratrol is a bioflavonoid antioxidant and is produced by certain plants that are thought to halt or even reverse the signs of ageing. The best sources of resveratrol include red grapes, red wine, cacao, and certain dark berries including blueberries, lingon berries and mulberries. As a powerful antioxidant, resveratrol can neutralise free radicals, which can cause ageing or even certain diseases such as cancer.
It is also anti-inflammatory and is thought to protect the heart, fighting LDL (AKA the “bad” cholesterol) and even improving circulation. There are some studies which suggest resveratrol can help to prevent fat storage and regulate insulin levels.
Our award-winning H30 Hydration supplement contains super-strength Trans-Resveratrol (98% extract), which is a readily available form of Resveratrol that gets absorbed easily into our bodies. As an antioxidant, Trans-Resveratrol has also been shown to be more effective than Vitamin C, Vitamin E and Beta Carotene.
Vibrant purple acai smoothie bowls are one of the most popular foodie trends on Instagram – and for good reason, if it’s antioxidants you’re looking for!
Acai berries, native to Central and Southern America, are packed with vitamins A and C, as well as anti-inflammatory goodness, including anthocyanins, proanthocyanidins, protocatechuic acid, procyanidins and epicatechin.
They’ve long been used in Brazilian and Amazonian tribes, who swear by them for their amazing range of phytonutrients, antioxidants, which fight free radical damage. However, they also contain electrolytes such as magnesium and potassium, trace minerals, amino acids and even some essential fatty acids.
Acai, like most berries, has been found to be particularly beneficial to the skin. It contains 19 amino acids and can help to ease dry skin, as well as dark and sun spots, fine lines, wrinkles and even stretch marks and scars. These potent berries may also help to boost memory, stimulate the digestive system, and protect against heart disease.
In fact, these purple berries are so powerful that it contains even more protective antioxidants than cranberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, blueberries and even goji berries.
However, you don’t need to shell out on a pricey supplement or acai sachets for your smoothies to benefit from this amazing berry. Acai is found in our multi award-winning Collagen Shots, alongside many other skin-loving ingredients to give you brighter, fresher and plumped-up skin.
Many of us already know that we should skip our numerous coffees and, instead, sip on green tea, which has been an ancient remedy for centuries. In fact, in Japan’s Okinawa, a part of the world renowned for longevity, drinking green tea several times a day is considered the norm.
Green tea is made up of leaves that have not been fermented. This means that they are full of antioxidants and other healing goodness, including polyphenols, catechins and other flavonoids found in red wine, dark chocolate and berries. They also contain caffeine, making for a great, morning energy boost.
In particular, green tea is thought to protect a healthy heart, thanks to the flavan-3-olsand antioxidants, and may even fight Alzheimer’s by supporting the brain cells against free radical damage. There are other studies which suggest green tea can reduce appetite and even promote bone health, thanks to the green tea catechins.
You can find green tea in various teas, including Tencha, Hojicha, Genmaicha, Gyokuro and matcha, which is a high-grade, finely ground, concentrated green tea.
Our delicious Protein Smoothies, which contain vegan-friendly pea protein, also have added green tea, which works to start thermogenesis and stimulate fat oxidation, boosting metabolism without even increasing the heart rate so you can reap antioxidant smoothie benefits with all the other goodness.