Here's a must-have list (Our Top 10). Not all are true anti-oxidants, but are by far among the most beneficial to our health.
1) Glutathione (GSH) - this is known as our body's master antioxidant. It can quench the worst of free radicals, detoxify, and help clear bacteria among other things. Many other antioxidants we take in combine with nutrients to form GSH inside our bodies (acting as pre-cursors). However, our bodies produce less glutathione as we age. To increase our levels of GSH, NAC is 1 of the best pre-cursors. GSH levels can also be increased through injections or homeopathic means.
2) Resveratrol - to understand the significance of this antioxidant, I'll explain something known as the French Paradox. The French have a deep connection with food. The dishes are savory, albeit full of saturated fat. As unhealthy as their diet is, why is it that the French are still able to live as long as they do? The answer lies in red grapes. When concentrated into wine or a supplement, you get something that is rich in resveratrol, polyphenols, and other nutrients. In addition to its cardiovascular benefits, it is known to have a positive epigenetic effect on the SIRT-1 gene which increases longevity.
3) Astaxanthin - this is 1 of the most powerful antioxidants found in nature. It protects your brain and skin from the signs of aging (even reducing gray hair), improves eye health, and can also improve physical endurance. This is above and beyond its potent free radical scavenging abilities. Next to omega-3's, Astaxanthin has had the most noticeable effect on my personal health.
4) Vitamin D - those brainy researchers at Harvard have made a startling discovery. What they found is that people living above 37 degrees latitude are getting much less sun exposure - particularly in the winter time. And it's that fact which makes them more susceptible to winter colds, cancer, osteoporosis, and general malaise.The RDA is set at 400 IU's, but that is much too low for optimal health. You should be taking closer to 4,000 IU's and even more for seniors. The D3 form is the best form to take.
5) Omega-3 - it's considered an essential fatty acid and is highly touted for its effect on cardiovascular health, skin health, brain function, and reducing inflammation. Key scientific studies that exemplify its benefits looked at the health and diet of Norwegians during World War II. There was a marked reduction in coronary heart disease and corresponding mortality rates. EPA and DHA are the most beneficial compounds in omega-3's. Both can be found in seafood such as salmon, tuna, and sardines.
6) Green/White Tea - there is a long history for cultivation of tea leaves, but green and white tea stand out for their health benefits. They are really 1 and the same leaf, except white tea is made from younger leaves. It is also higher in antioxidants. The primary compounds in tea include EGCG and catechins. It produces a very long list of health benefits which include anti-cancer, increased immunity, mental alertness, increased metabolism, cardiovascular function, and more.
7) L-arginine - this amino acid is the subject of research that led to a Nobel Prize in 1998 and more recently brought to the forefront by Dr. Oz. L-arginine is a pre-cursor to nitric oxide - or NO. When combined with L-citrulline, another amino acid, it can exert a strong effect on the vascular and circulatory systems. NO also improves athletic performance and alleviates sexual dysfunction. Our body's production of NO declines with age, and maintaining healthy levels is key to longevity.
8) Melatonin - this hormone promotes sleep and does a lot to repair the body. In fact if you're not feeling well, you may find yourself naturally sleeping longer hours which increases recovery. Aside from antioxidant activity, Melatonin is known to fight cancer and reduce hypertension. It's a great reason to get 8 hours of sleep in. Unfortunately our melatonin levels fall with age. If you experience restlessness at night, you might consider supplementation. Melatonin is also found in small amounts in red wine.
9) Probiotics - it's been said that digestive health is 80% of your immunity. Reason being, our bodies fight many food-borne bacteria and carcinogens. For example, alcohol and unhealthy food are some things which disturb the balance of healthy bacteria in our digestive system. Probiotics promote the growth of healthy bacteria, improve immunity, and promote a regular bowel movement. While yogurt is a source of probiotics, you can find supplements that provide much better probiotic support.
10) Coconuts - coconut water is high in electrolytes. And coconut oil is high in fats called MCT's which have been shown to feed our brains and prevent Alzheimer's disease.