Antioxidants are molecules that do a lot more work in your bodies than you know. They are silently going around like worker bees, fixing issues that other molecules are causing. Bottom line is you want antioxidants in your body, and you will soon find out why.
What are free radicals?
Whenever you exercise, or as your body converts food into energy, a by-product leaves your body. You can also have contact with them through pollution, and sunlight. These substances known as free radicals are not good for you. When free radicals accumulate, they can cause oxidative stress.
Now, oxidative stress causes many health issues that affect people throughout their lifetime. Issues like cancer, stroke, arthritis, heart disease, Parkinson’s disease, you name it.
As you can already tell, free radicals building up in your body is a no-no. But guess what, our bodies have a natural free radical removal agency. As you can already guess, antioxidants lead this agency.
Antioxidants: uses and sources
Antioxidants function to neutralize free radicals in your body. You want to have more antioxidants in your body than free radicals. These molecules could be actual lifesavers, and they are easy to come by in food.
Vegetables and fruits are the richest sources of antioxidants in the diet. But your body also produces its own antioxidant molecules like glutathione. Other sources of this super molecule includes chocolates, berries, green tea, and coffee.
Antioxidants are also great at increasing the shelf life of food, both natural and processed. Because of this, they are useful as food additives and preservatives.
Important antioxidants that you should know about
This protective molecule can be either water-soluble or fat-soluble. For water-soluble ones, they do their amazing work in the fluid inside and outside cells. The fat-soluble ones on the other hand work inside cell membranes.
Here are some essential antioxidants that are found in your food. You would recognize most of them. Here they are:
- Vitamin C (berries, oranges, bell peppers)
- Flavonoids (tea, citrus, wine, apples)
- Vitamin A (dairy produce, liver, eggs)
- Beta carotene (carrot, peas, spinach)
- Vitamin E (seeds, nuts, green leafy vegetables)
- Lycopene (tomatoes, watermelon)
A lot of research has gone into the effectiveness of taking antioxidant supplements and its effect on preventing illnesses. Well, generally, research has not proven in any way that it is beneficial to take antioxidant supplements.
In fact, a high intake of antioxidants including vitamin E has been linked to some serious health problems. As a general rule, it is advised that you stay away from antioxidant supplements. The dose that you get from your diet is enough to keep your antioxidant levels optimal.
Keep it up!
In summary, free radicals are the enemy, and antioxidants are your friend. Try to eat a diet rich in all the sources that have been mentioned. This will help you to keep your levels up. Your body will thank you for it, and reward you with staying healthy and safe for a long time.