Home   A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I   J   K   L   M   N   O   P   Q   R   S   T   U   V   W   X   Y   Z 

What Are Antioxidants?

You’ve probably heard that foods rich in antioxidants are good for you. But how do they work? What are the ‘oxidants’ that these nutrients are ‘anti’?

Oxidation is a process by which harmful molecules, called free radicals, damage our bodies’ cells, and antioxidants protect us by mopping up the free radicals before they can cause this oxidative damage.

Free radicals arise from sources both inside (endogenous) and outside (exogenous) our bodies. Oxidants that develop from processes within our bodies form as a result of normal aerobic respiration, metabolism, and inflammation. Exogenous free radicals form from environmental factors such as pollution, sunlight, strenuous exercise, X-rays, smoking and alcohol.

Oxidative damage is seriously bad news. It’s at the root of many chronic diseases, such as heart disease, stroke and cancer. It even underlies the aging process, so you can see why you ought to be getting as much antioxidants into your diet as possible.

Many of the immune-boosting nutrients also work as antioxidants, as do a whole host of phytochemicals.

Eat plenty of these foods to boost your antioxidant intake:

  • Vitamin A and carotenoids: Carrots, squash, broccoli, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, kale, collards, cantaloupe, peaches and apricots.

  • Vitamin C: Citrus fruits like oranges and lime etc, green peppers, broccoli, green leafy vegetables, strawberries and tomatoes.

  • Vitamin E: Green leafy vegetables, vegetable oil and liver oil, nuts and seeds.

  • Anthocyanins: berries (especially blueberries), cherries, red grapes.

  • Selenium: Fish and shellfish, grains, eggs, chicken and garlic. Brazil nuts are a particularly rich source of selenium.

Privacy Policy