The role of antioxidants and immune system and how can you improve that

For healthier and happier days ahead, we need to be free of diseases. To make it happen, our first line of defense against infections – our immune system needs to be at its best.

Does the immune system make a difference?

Immunity is basically the fortress for the body defending against invaders. From mild colds to more serious infections, the immune system can elevate resilience to foreign bodies and germs.

Especially at this time of Covid-19 pandemic with pending vaccines and treatments, the natural body defense system, the immunity is protecting us from the adversities. Moreover, the dangers of some incurable diseases can only be fought off by the immune system.

We can make or break our immune system unknowingly. But before we talk about the immunity, we should first talk about the substances that are greatly supportive for our immune system – the antioxidants.

What are antioxidants?

Antioxidants are substances that protect the cells against injury by free radicals, and disruption of molecular imbalance. Free radicals are constantly being produced in excess in our body due to polluted environment – air, water, etc.

How many types of antioxidants are there?

  • Endogenous antioxidants – products of our own body’s metabolism
  • Exogenous antioxidants – what we get from our diet, external sources.

Role of antioxidants in our body

Oxidants (free radicals) are waste materials from our cells. They need to be effectively removed. If not, they can disrupt our body’s metabolic activities and cause cell breakdown.

Excessive free radicals in the body can cause heart diseases, cancer, joint pain, respiratory disease and even stroke. It can also damage the immune system, which can consequently put the person at higher risk for catching colds, flus and other infectious illnesses.

To help prevent these outcomes, we need the antioxidant for metabolic balance in our bodies. Antioxidants are necessary compounds for the overall health of the body including skin, immune system. The body needs the antioxidants for it to be able to prevent certain diseases.

How can we obtain more antioxidants?

We usually can get our antioxidants from one of the two ways:

  • Food and
  • Exercises

Food

  • Vitamin A – Milk products, eggs, liver
  • Beta-carotenes (precursors of vitamin A) – Carrots, French beans, mangoes, spinach and other red, orange and green fruits and vegetables
  • Vitamin C – berries, guava, bell peppers, all citrus fruits including oranges
  • Vitamin E – almonds, sunflower seeds, vegetable oils, leafy green vegetables
  • Lycopene – red and pink pigmented fruits such as tomatoes, watermelons
  • Lutein – corns, papayas, oranges and green leafy vegetables
  • Selenium – Rice, corn, flour, eggs, nuts, cheese, peas and beans.

You can derive antioxidants from these food as well as from the fortified supplements and meal replacements specially produced for older people with low appetite.

Besides food, exercising daily can also produce antioxidants.

  • Walking
  • Yoga
  • Cycling
  • Jogging
  • Stretching are some of the options that are suitable for every age. Regular exercise can boost the immunity in older people as well as prevent muscle weakness and declining bone density. For a happier and healthier aging, take care of your older family members to have good nourishment and regular exercise.

How can antioxidants benefit our health? https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/301506 Accessed Date 22 April 2020

The role of antioxidant supplement in immune system, neoplastic, and neurodegenerative disorders: a point of view for an assessment of the risk/benefit profile https://nutritionj.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1475-2891-7-29 Accessed Date 22 April 2020

Can Antioxidants Really Improve Immune Health? https://www.naturesbest.co.uk/our-blog/can-antioxidants-really-improve-immune-health/ Accessed Date 22 April 2020