Antioxidants are a core part of protecting our liver and the other vital organs which keep our body healthy, and many of the superfoods and liver health supplements we consume are rich in antioxidants, as well as other compounds that help protect our bodies.
Protecting the liver is especially important as it is the organ that helps remove toxins from the body among other functions.
Antioxidants have been part of our diets for millions of years, but their effects only started to be discovered in the early 20th century thanks to scientists such as Henry A Mattil and his pioneering discoveries about vitamin E, as well as similar studies on vitamin C.
The basic principle of antioxidants is that they prevent free radicals from being produced by stopping the chemical reaction that creates them. Free radicals are unstable compounds that can damage DNA, contribute to diseases and create inflammation.
There is typically a balance between antioxidants and free radicals, and when free radicals outnumber antioxidants, it leads to oxidative stress, which is where damage to the body happens.
There is a wide variety of antioxidants, from vitamins C and E to those found in honey, peppermint and a wide variety of other herbs, spices, fruits and vegetables.
Many foods that are deemed superfoods, such as blueberries, spinach and green tea, get the moniker because they are rich in antioxidants, as well as anti-inflammatory compounds as well as nutrients such as iron, calcium and magnesium.