Antioxidant are nutrients and enzymes in our blood that make the free radicals harmless by disarming them. They work by giving one of their electrons to “neutralize” these free radicals. Hence,they prevent the chemical reaction known as oxidation. Fortunately, our bodies have many natural defenses that fight against free radicals like vitamins C and E, different enzymes which have minerals like selenium and zine incorporated into their structure, and hundreds of other natural substances found in plants call phytonutrients
Scientists have discovered that plants contain substances known as phytonutrients or phytochemicals, which literally means “chemicals from plants”. These substances have antioxidant properties which can protect us against different diseases. For example, if we consume plenty of tomatoes which has plenty of lycopene (red cartenoid), we may be able to lower the risk of prostate cancer. Lycopene is easy to absorb when mix with oil while cooking.
There are thousands of these chemicals present in different fruits, vegetables and cereals. These phytonutrients can protect use from ultraviolet rays, infection and pollution. We need to consume a wide variety of these foods on a regular basis to get a good dose of phytonutrients. Selecting different colors of fruit and vegetables is a simple way to ensure a wide range of phytonutrients.
Top 10 Antioxidant Food
- Curly Kale
- Brussels Sprouts
Food supplements rich in antioxidants come in many forms; there are those that are single-ingredient products like vitamin E capsules, and those that contains a combination of naturals fruits like wild berries. Other commonly used supplements include evening primrose oil, garlic capsules and cod liver oil.
Health Benefits of Antioxidants
Antioxidants have a range of health benefits; recent studies have shown antioxdants minimize the signs of aging by reducing wrinkles and protecting texture of the skin. They can even protect you from sun damage, and low the risk of sunburn. While antioxidants are not proven to treat any medical conditions, research has shown that antioxidants are implicated in the prevention of a many age-related and degenerative disease like Alzheimer’s disease, cataracts, cancer, cardiovascular disease, immune dysfunction, cognitive impairment.
Examples of antioxidants which benefit different areas of our body:
- Beta carotene found in carrots – maintain eye health.
- Lycopene found in tomatoes – maintain prostate health.
- Flavonoids found in tea, cocoa and chocolate – maintain heart health
- Proanthocyanidins found in cranberries and apples – maintain urinary tract health