Antioxidants are extremely important for your health, as they protect cells from the damage caused by free radicals. Foods rich in antioxidants slow the aging process down, reduce the risk of cancer and degenerative diseases, help detoxify the body and increase life expectancy.
Almost all fruits and vegetables contain these healthy agents, with some of the most common forms being vitamin A, C and E, beta-carotene, flavonoids, lycopene and resveratrol, among others.
The most powerful antioxidants are those with the best capacity of absorbing and eliminating the free radicals that affect cells and produce chronical conditions. The fight for the top spot is very close: some specialists claim that resveratrol is the most efficient, while others name beta-carotene or vitamin C as the leader.
Studies have brought to attention two compounds that can easily change old beliefs; these are astaxanthin (found in salmon) and hydroxytyrosol (found in olives).
Dr. Mercola claims that astaxanthin is the most powerful carotenoid ever discovered. It is considered to be much more effective than the beta-carotene found in carrots as far as eyesight protection goes.
It is 65 times more powerful than vitamin C, 54 times stronger than beta-carotene and 14 times stronger than vitamin E. Its antioxidant power is above other carotenoids such as lycopene, lutein and zeaxanthin. Its origin is actually a seaweed with this exact name: astaxanthin. The reason it produces this antioxidant is to protect against sun radiation and the lack of nutrients in the water.
Salmon has deposits of this compound in the muscle tissue, and it is believed that it is part of the reason for the impressive stamina that it displays.
The effects of astaxanthin can be seen in cells, organs and tissues:
- It improves cardiovascular health
- It helps stabilize glycemia
- It stimulates immunity
- It fights cancer
- It enhances stamina and physical performance
- It encourages fertility
- It protects the central nervous system
The biggest benefits are seen when it comes to the health of the eyes and brain. Due to the fact that astaxanthin passes the hemo-encephalic and the retina barriers, its protecting, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects on the brain, central nervous system and eyes are extremely powerful.
A few conditions that it helps against are:
- Cataract, glaucoma, macular degeneration and blindness
- Retinal artery and vein occlusion
- Diabetic retinopathy
- Cystoid macular edema
- Inflammatory ocular disease (retinitis, keratitis)
- Alzheimer and other types of dementia
- Brain and spinal cord damage
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
Avoid salmon with synthetic astaxanthin that is obtained from petrochemical substances. Specifically, what you should look for on the label is wild salmon – this fish shows higher survival rates, as well as improved growth, immunity, fertility and reproduction abilities due to consuming astaxanthin. The content of this antioxidant is 400 times higher than in those coming from farms, with the Omega 3 amount being superior in wild salmon as well.
The effects of antioxidants have long been praised, yet it is the less known astaxanthin that you should start considering for maximum benefits.