What are antioxidants?
Antioxidants are simply those substances that protect us from the harmful effects of free radicals produced in our body because of metabolic reactions or because of chemical exposure.
Due to the fact that they destroy free radicals, these are also called free radical scavengers. For example: Vitamin A, C and E.
Free radicals can be produced in our body as a result of exposure to chemicals, pollution and sun.
These radicals hunt for the electrons to pair with and stabilize themselves. In this process, they damage proteins, DNA and other components of a cell in our body.
They damage skin and promote ageing, spots on the skin etc.
Ongoing studies claim that free radicals may also have a role in diseases like cancer. Hence, antioxidants are crucial to keep a check on them to control cell damage.
These antioxidants can be produced in the body which are called Endogenous and those antioxidants which we get from our diet are Exogenous antioxidants.
Endogenous ones are more efficient in cell damage and repair than the exogenous antioxidants.
The present environment with high levels of chemicals has increased the production of free radicals in the body that only the dietary sources of antioxidants are not enough to repair the damage done by free radicals.
To compensate for the deficiency of antioxidants, supplements are the easiest solution, but antioxidants can damage the body if they are present in large quantities in the body which is why consulting a doctor is important before taking any supplements.
Benefits Of Antioxidants
- Improves digestion
- Helps prevent certain cancers
- Improves vision and prevent night blindness
- Enhances immunity
- Maintains proper brain functioning
- Fights skin damage and ageing
- Improves cardiovascular health
Sources Of Antioxidants
Now that you know the importance of antioxidants, you may be curious to know about the foods that contain different antioxidants.
I may not be wrong if I say that most of the natural and organic foods contain antioxidants. Look for bright and vibrant fruits and veggies, they have a high chance of containing antioxidants.
Incorporate whole grains, nuts, fruits and vegetables in your diet to get yourself an antioxidant-packed meal.
To get a better understanding of foods and antioxidants present in them, refer the following list-
Vitamin A: Carrots, sweet potatoes, fish, broccoli, bell peppers, lettuce, eggs, butter, meat, winter squash, cantaloupe, apricots, sweet potatoes, spinach, kale, and collard greens etc.
Vitamin C: Oranges, lemons, grapefruit, kiwi fruit, bell peppers, brussels sprouts, strawberries, blueberries, pineapple, tomato juice, papayas, watermelon and cauliflower etc.
Vitamin E: Avocado, Nuts (pine, hazelnuts), wheat germ oil, sunflower oil, peanut butter, spinach, kiwi, almonds, apricots, papaya, broccoli etc.
Lycopene: Tomatoes, watermelon, grapefruit, guava, asparagus, purple cabbage, mangoes, red peppers and red cabbage etc.
Lutein & Zeaxanthin: Kale, spinach, turnip greens, broccoli, green beans, eggs, oranges, green peas, corn and collards etc.
Flavonoids: Green and black teas, apple’s skin, chocolates, onions, strawberry, legumes, red wine, citrus fruits, beans etc.
Selenium: Brazil nut, pork, beef, turkey, chicken, mushrooms, beans, sunflower seeds, liver, kinds of seafood, eggs etc.
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