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By now, most people have heard of antioxidants and what these little gems can do for their health.
But, just in case you’re still wondering if getting enough antioxidants every day is actually important, let’s do a quick recap on their most important points…
Put simply, antioxidants are any substance that can protect you against free radicals that damage your body and lead to inflammation and disease. That free radical buildup can be due to U.V. ray exposure when you spend time in the sun, breathing in cigarette smoke, air pollution or other toxins, getting an x-ray, and — surprisingly — even just your body’s normal metabolic processes.
And, when the number of free radicals outweighs the number of antioxidants in your body, you end up with what’s known as oxidative stress — something that’s been linked to everything from atherosclerosis and cancer to Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and even accelerated aging.
Antioxidants are the answer to free radicals
While one way of reducing free radicals is to limit exposure to the factors that lead to their formation, eliminating all sources simply isn’t practical or possible.
This means that the one way you truly can control the levels of free radicals in your body is by controlling your antioxidant intake.
And that’s good news since not only is getting antioxidants easy, if you choose a truly powerful version, you can leverage potent protection for your health and quite possibly slow the aging process.
Even better, scientists from Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University have now discovered an incredibly active antioxidant that may offer powerful disease-fighting compounds…
Barking up a tree reveals alternative antioxidant
The Russian team has spent the past ten years in their laboratory searching for new antioxidants and recently they settled on the bark of three tree species that they believed to possess optimal free radical fighting activity.
Because they are all sources of polyphenols — proven antioxidants.
These trees, found widely in the Kaliningrad region of Russia and Europe include:
Despite the fact that the extracts of oak and pine bark have a longer history of use in medicine, it was the alder bark extracts that hands-down possessed the highest level of polyphenols and anti-free radical activity.
In fact, the researchers discovered that alder bark delivers polyphenols including:
- Flavonoids, tannins, and proanthocyanidins which have anti-cancer and heart-protective effects reduce the risk of diabetes and block the development of metabolic syndrome (a precursor to heart disease, diabetes, and more)
- Oregonin, a substance that has been shown to be anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antifungal (It has even been used in the treatment of candidiasis.)
Yup, all this cancer, heart disease, diabetes, inflammation, fungus, and bacterial protection all in the extract of one single tree bark!
Alder bark joins the ranks of other powerful antioxidants
So, if you’re ready to leverage the power of a brand-new antioxidant against radical damage, you might want to try alder bark.
But remember you can get powerful antioxidants from less exotic sources as well. Resveratrol is the antioxidant that kicked off the anti-free radical movement and has volumes of research behind its benefits, efficacy, and safety. In fact, resveratrol was first isolated in the 1940s.
Plus, it’s easily available because it’s found in foods we enjoy like peanuts, pistachios, blueberries, cranberries, cocoa and most famously, red wine. In supplement form, research has shown it’s also easily absorbed by the body.
Because of their value, antioxidant research is thriving. Next on the list? Grasshoppers, silkworms, and crickets have displayed very high antioxidant capacity. Thanks, but I’ll stick with my supplements!
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- Free radicals, antioxidants and functional foods: Impact on human health — Pharmacognosy Reviews
- IKBFU researchers have discovered another natural antioxidant — alder bark — EurekAlert!