What Are The Best Antioxidants For Healthy Brain Function?
Our bodies are undergoing metabolism on a constant basis, providing us with the energy we need to carry out life functions in the form of ATP.
It seems like a true miracle, being able to turn a relatively small bit of food into chemical fuel that works for our entire lifetimes.
Our large human brains are especially reliant on the metabolic process, requiring up to about a quarter of the energy produced in the body.
Unfortunately, there is a slight downside to metabolism that we sometimes forget – the production of free radicals, rogue by-product particles that can cause damage to the structure of our cells.
Free radicals are one of the most significant causes of tissue damage, cancer, and all sorts of debilitating diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s.
Antioxidants protect your brain from free radical damage
There is however, a bright side to all of this. Nature has provided somewhat of a solution to the problem of free radicals by also having molecules called antioxidants.
Antioxidants are the dual to free radicals, counteracting their destructive effects or even preventing them from happening altogether!
The name “antioxidant” refers to the antagonism of oxidation, which is a process by which free radicals are formed.
Since the brain produces and uses a large amount of energy, it is especially in need of protection from free radicals. Over time, the damage done to neural tissue can accumulate, being partly responsible for the decline in cognition with age.
Despite this apparently hopeless situation, we can fight the effects of free radicals in our brains by the use of antioxidants, whether we sufficiently include them in our diets or take supplements to obtain them.
So, on that note, let’s take a look at some of the main sources of antioxidants.
Source #1: Polyphenols
One of the major dietary sources of antioxidants is polyphenols, a set of organic chemicals that are found abundantly in fruits and some teas and coffee.
Polyphenols are easily come by in diets that include copious plant products, and are one of the big reasons why people should be eating enough fruits and vegetables on a daily basis.
An article from Norwich Medical School in the United Kingdom researched the effects of polyphenols on decreasing oxidative/stress signaling, suggesting that an increase in dietary intake is highly beneficial to health and can reduce the effects of inflammation and aging.
Source #2: Flavonoids
Another largely plant-based chemical, flavonoids are a great source of antioxidants for the body. They can be found in coffee and tea, similarly to polyphenols, and they are also seen in dark chocolate and wine. Some people might say this is a good reason to eat more [dark] chocolate!
Flavonoids differ from polyphenols in the benefit they have, which is mostly the prevention of cancer. Multiple studies with the common flavonoid quercetin have demonstrated a significant drop in rates of cancer, notably pancreatic cancer.
5 Best Antioxidant Supplements
While it’s best to get antioxidants from food sources, supplementation is of course, always a good option.
1. Turmeric / Curcumin
The first nootropic antioxidant on anyone’s mind should be curcumin (found in turmeric). It’s clinically shown to reduce inflammation and have all sorts of other benefits. A true superfood.
2. Vitamin E
Many commercially produced nootropic stacks include high amounts of antioxidants, such as the vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) content in Perceptiv, or ginkgo biloba, a rich source of flavonoids that is found in some herbal remedies.
Resveratrol has become a popular polyphenol supplement in recent years, having been touted for its effects on heart health and anti-aging.
Quercetin is another popularly supplemented antioxidant, available in products such as FRS for enhanced concentration and energy.
5. Green Tea Extract
In addition, green tea extract supplements contain a quite concentrated blend of polyphenols, which contribute to the positive health effects they produce.
Antioxidants are one of those substances that are naturally safe and healthy, and provide a wide range of benefits for general health and the brain.
When the actions of free radicals are prevented, the body can heal itself and the brain can be free to develop with less possibility of damages caused by its own rampant energy use.
So grab a cup of tea, bite into a good fruit, and join the party of healthy-brained individuals.