Yoga Na Be Healthy: Yoga as an Antioxidant (Study)

yogaHave you ever wondered why people who regularly practice yoga often look so much younger than their actual age?

A new study on yoga published in the July 2015 Journal of Alternative and Complementary Magazine may have some answers.

The researchers found out that twelve weeks of yoga amps up the body’s natural defense system against toxins and free radicals. To be more precise, the experts at explain that yoga raises the level of natural antioxidants in the body, and even strengthens the immune system.

Importance of Antioxidants on the Body

Antioxidants are substances that help fight oxidation, which is a normal chemical process that takes place in the body every day. When there are disruptions in the natural oxidation process, potentially damaging molecules containing an odd number of electrons called free radicals are created.

Once formed, free radicals start a chain of chemical reactions; for instance, when they react with cellular components like the cell membrane, they cause the cell to function poorly or die. It’s the same chemical reaction that creates rust on a bike or turns the surface of a peeled apple brown.

Scientists call this harmful process unleashed by free radicals “oxidative stress”. Its effect on the body has been linked to a range of serious medical issues, such as glaucoma, heart disease, and even cancer.

This is where antioxidants come in; the substances protect cells against the harmful effects of free radicals.

The Effect of Yoga on the Body

While eating foods like beans, nuts, chocolate, vegetables, and fruits, can boost the levels of antioxidants in the body, doing yoga can produce the same effects as well. In fact, the 2015 study mentioned above showed that yoga led to higher levels of antioxidants in the body compared to people who did cycling and running.

Those who participated in the study did 90 minutes of yoga each week in yoga classes and did 40 minutes of yoga at home for at least three times a week for a period of twelve weeks.

If you are looking to boost the antioxidants in your body, know that there are other options than just eating dark chocolate and nuts — you can roll out your yoga mat and do Mountain and Warrior poses, too.