Antioxidants are vitamins and minerals that protect our bodies from free-radical damage, molecules that attack our cells and weaken our immune system. Free radicals expose the body to health risks such as cataract, cancer, cardiovascular diseases and brain dysfunction, to mention just a few.
The ideal source of antioxidants is from the food we eat – mostly from fresh, organically grown fruits and vegetables. While there are various types of antioxidants known to us such as Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, beta-carotene, lutein, catechins and flavonoids, all of which can be found in our foods.
I’d like to introduce you to a very powerful antioxidant that you yet may not be familiar with… astaxanthin!!
Astaxanthin has a reddish pigment that belongs to a group of chemicals called carotenoids – a class of mainly orange, yellow or red fat-soluble organic pigments that are produced by plants and algae.
Astaxanthin is known as the “king of carotenoids” its health benefits are undeniable, infallible and there are new discoveries being made each day by researchers who are fascinated by its potential.
Cool Fact! Astaxanthin is what is responsible for the pink or reddish color we see in seafood such as the pacific sockeye salmon, lobster, shrimp, krill, red trout and crabs. These are proteins that are rich in Astaxanthin.
Another natural source of astaxanthin is phaffia, a red species of yeast which has very high levels of the carotenoids.
Benefits of Astaxanthin
- Vitamin A is vital to the retina of the eye and astaxanthin is packed full of this vitamin, it prevents the eyes from some of the leading causes of blindness, such as macular degeneration and cataracts. Astaxanthin is also effective in treating a host of other eye diseases such as glaucoma, inflammatory eye disease, diabetic neuropathy and cystoid macular edema.
- Has powerful UV-blocking properties that protect the skin from sun damage. It has also been shown to remove age spots, smooth out wrinkles, improve skin moisture levels and skin elasticity. You’ll very often hear me call it “suntan lotion NOT in a bottle”!
- May be used as an exercise supplement to boost endurance levels, strength and stamina in during exercise. It also reduces muscle soreness and recovery from strenuous activities or workouts, and promotes joint and skeletal health in treating conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome.
- It is good for heart health and may help to improve elastin levels and arterial wall thickness. Research suggests that a daily intake of astaxanthin reduces triglyceride levels and increases high-density lipoprotein – that’s known as the good cholesterol.
- Is showing great promises in treating certain cancers such as breast cancer, by reducing the growth of breast cancer cells.
- Helps support brain function.
- Improves blood flow and lowers oxidative stress in overweight people and those who smoke.
- It improves male fertility and menopausal symptoms such as moodiness, hot flashes and bladder control.
With this overwhelming wealth of information, you do not want to miss out on its overall health benefits.