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What Are Antioxidants and Why Do
We Need Them?

Antioxidants are substances or nutrients in our foods that can prevent or slow down the oxidative damage to our body.

When our body cells use oxygen, they naturally produce free radicals (by-products), which can cause damage. Antioxidants act as ‘free radical scavengers’ and hence prevent and repair damage done by these free radicals.

Health problems such as heart disease, macular degeneration, diabetes, cancer, etc. are all linked to oxidative damage.

Antioxidants are found abundant in beans, grain products, fruits and vegetables. Look for fruits with bright color — lutein in some of the yellow pigments found in corn; orange in cantaloupe, butternut squash and mango; red from lycopene in tomatoes and watermelon, and purple and blue in berries. So enjoy eating a variety of these products.

It is best to obtain these antioxidants from foods instead of supplements. In addition, minimize the exposure of oxidative stress such as smoking and sunburn.

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