Looking back to the last decade (especially after the SARS-CoV2 outbreak), people have been conscious about their immune systems. A strong immune system has the potential to reduce the risk of infections. It can help us fight non-communicable diseases like cancer, CVDs, Diabetes, Neurological disorders (Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, Epilepsy), etc. Hence, the trend is rapidly shifting towards boosting immunity. Healthcare professionals have been recommending stress management, a balanced diet, exercise, and sleep for stronger immunity. Apart from these, adequate intake of antioxidants through fruits, vegetables, and supplements ranks among the top 5 health recommendations for boosting immunity.
Read this article to know everything about the role of antioxidants in boosting immunity:
Immunity-Boosting Mechanism of Antioxidants
Antioxidants have the potential to protect the cells in our body from damage due to several factors like environmental pollution, physical and mental stress, UV radiations, heavy metals, infection, etc. Adequate levels of antioxidants in the body can protect the immune system. It might also promote the growth of new immune cells in the body. Apart from these, they work to reduce the inflammation in the body. Thus, they can also lower the risk of chronic diseases and contribute to the overall health of the body.
Where does the body get its antioxidants?
Usually, our body produces the antioxidants required to fight the damage. Foods like vegetables, fruits, grains, legumes, spices, nuts, and seeds, etc. also contribute to our antioxidant levels. Modern-day supplements are also known to play an important role to attain optimum antioxidant levels in the body.
Key antioxidants for stronger immunity
Several vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and bioactive compounds act as antioxidants for the body. Here is a list of some of the immunity-boosting antioxidants among them:
Curcumin is a dual-functioning antioxidant. It can directly neutralize the toxins and also enhance the natural production of antioxidant molecules in the body. Naturally occurring in turmeric, this antioxidant possesses anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, analgesic and other characteristics. Curcumin helps to reduce the risk of neurological disorders and heart diseases. It has also been used as traditional medicine (in the form of turmeric) in India to cure various infections.
2. Coenzyme Q10
Coenzyme Q10 can act as a powerful antioxidant and enhance the process of energy generation in the cells. It is also known as the master antioxidant because it helps in maintaining healthy lungs and manages to protect the respiratory system from chronic diseases. This energy can increase the production of immune cells and enhance the overall functioning of the body. Research suggests that CoQ10 supplementation might help to prevent and treat conditions like diabetes, AIDS, gastric ulcers, kidney failure, migraine, respiratory disorders, CVDs, etc. It also possesses anti-aging benefits due to its ability to reduce cellular damage.
Zinc is a co-factor for over 100 enzymes in the human body. It is essential for the development and functioning of immune cells. It also participates in the synthesis of many antioxidant enzymes that reduce oxidative stress in the body. Zinc supplementation is also used along with drug therapy to treat the symptoms of COVID’19 infection. Apart from these, it has wound healing and anti-inflammatory properties.
4. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is known to be a powerful immune booster. Consuming adequate amounts of Vitamin C can increase the concentration of the antioxidants in the blood by as high as 30%. This can help the body to fight inflammation. It has also been studied to prevent and treat respiratory tract infections. Further, it also possesses anti-aging properties that protect the body from eye diseases and wrinkles.
5. Vitamin D3
Vitamin D3 is another powerful antioxidant produced by the body in the presence of sunlight. It is known to reduce the risk of influenza and respiratory tract infection in people. This antioxidant can help to maintain optimum lung function and cardiovascular health. It might also help in the prevention of chronic conditions like cancer. Further, it contributes to the overall development and maintenance of bones and teeth.
Other antioxidants in the list include Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Iron, Lycopene, selenium, etc. They either function directly as antioxidants or stimulate their synthesis in the body. This leads to a stronger immune system.
How many antioxidants to consume for better immunity?
All the antioxidants have their unique thresholds when it comes to regular consumption. For nutritional antioxidants i.e., vitamins and minerals, there are RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowances) for daily consumption. No specific recommendations exist for non-nutritional antioxidants like curcumin, anthocyanins, etc.
How to consume the right proportion of antioxidants?
One can get the idea for daily consumption of antioxidants using ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbing Capacity) values. This indicates the capacity of an antioxidant to neutralize the toxins that damage our cells. FDA recommends a daily intake of foods/supplements that add up to 3000-5000 ORAC rating of antioxidants. The higher the ORAC score, the higher the antioxidant strength of food.
Consuming a diet rich in colorful fruits and vegetables can supply an adequate number of antioxidants to a healthy person. When the diet is inadequate in terms of antioxidants, it is advisable to consume supplements. Supplements like Synershield Z are rich in antioxidants with an ORAC value as high as 3600. These supplements are a combination of multiple beneficial antioxidants which makes them a better choice for boosting immunity.
Choosing a supplement with the best combination of multiple antioxidants in suitable amounts can provide a variety of health benefits to the human body rather than a supplement which has only one antioxidant
Wrapping it up
Thus, antioxidants are chemical compounds that enhance immunity and metabolism by lowering the levels of toxins produced in the body. Our body has its mechanisms to produce these antioxidants which makes the immune system strong. However, food and supplements fulfill the additional requirements. Daily consumption of antioxidants that add up to 3000-5000 ORAC ratings is advisable as per the international standards for better results. Every antioxidant is unique in terms of its action and health benefits. Hence, consuming multiple antioxidants through vegetables, fruits, grains, spices, legumes, grains, nuts, seeds, and supplements is recommended for improved immunity and body functions.
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