Antioxidants: Things To Know
What are antioxidants?
The cells in your body are exposed to oxygen every day. Oxygen is important for the health of the body, but exposure to oxygen also causes oxidation. During oxidation, chemicals in the body are transformed and form free radicals. Exposure to environmental factors, such as exposure to the sun, cigarette smoke, alcohol and pollution sources, also creates free radicals.
Over time, free radicals can cause a chain of reactions in the body, damaging important chemicals, DNA, and parts of cells. Some cells can recover, but others are permanently damaged. Scientists believe that free radicals can contribute to aging as well as cancers, diabetes and heart disease.
Antioxidants are natural substances that can prevent or limit the damage caused by free radicals
To some extent, antioxidants can protect and prevent damage caused by oxidation.
Where are antioxidants found?
Your body produces some antioxidants to fight off free radicals formed by normal processes in the body. Your body can also supplement antioxidants with a healthy diet. Foods rich in antioxidants include fruits and vegetables that are high in nutrients like vitamins A, C and E, beta-carotene, lutein, lycopene and selenium.
Some people choose to take antioxidant supplements. Consult your doctor if you are considering taking supplements in your diet. Many supplements do not contain a balanced amount of vitamins, minerals and enzymes and can actually have a negative impact on your health
What foods are good sources of antioxidants?
For the most antioxidants, eat a diet that includes a rich mixture of colorful fruits, vegetables and other antioxidant-rich foods:
Vitamin A is found in milk, liver, butter and eggs.
Vitamin C is found in most fruits and vegetables. Vegetables that have the highest amount of vitamin C include papaya, strawberries, oranges, melon and kiwi, as well as bell peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, tomatoes, cauliflower and kale.
Vitamin E is found in several nuts, including almonds, sunflower seeds, chestnuts and peanuts. It can also be found in leafy green vegetables like spinach, kale and oils like soybean oil, sunflower oil, corn oil and canola oil.
Beta-carotene is found in colorful fruits and vegetables, including carrots, peas, melon, apricots, papaya, mangoes, peaches, pumpkins, apricots, broccoli, sweet potatoes and squash. . It can also be found in some leafy greens, including beets, spinach and kale.
Lutein is found in green leafy vegetables like spinach, collard, kale, broccoli, corn, peas, papaya and oranges.
Lycopene is found in pink and red fruits and vegetables, such as pink grapefruit, watermelon, apricots and tomatoes.
Selenium is found in cereals (corn, wheat and rice), nuts, beans, animal products (beef, fish, turkey, chicken, eggs and cheese), bread and pasta.
The best way to get antioxidants is to eat a diet with lots of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts. Diversity is very important. If you take multivitamins, be careful. Too much of some nutrients, such as vitamins E and A or selenium, can be harmful. Be sure to consult your doctor before taking any vitamin supplements.
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