Antioxidants are substances consumed in foods and dietary supplements which help to lessen and even prevent the formation of destructive chemicals in the body called free radicals. When our body cells use oxygen, they naturally produce free radicals by-products which can cause damage. Health problems such as heart disease, macular degeneration, diabetes, and cancer are all contributed by oxidative damage. Antioxidants keep free radicals from ravaging your body and robbing the life from your cells. The main antioxidants found in food include vitamins A, C and E, the minerals selenium and zinc and all of the phytonutrient carotenoids. So, it is time say no to free radicals and yes to antioxidants!
Antioxidant Rich Foods
Antioxidants are found abundant in beans, grain products, fruits and vegetables. The highest-ranking vegetables are broccoli, spinach, greens, brussel sprouts, beets, red peppers, carrots and tomatoes. Look for fruits with bright color such as lutein in some of the yellow pigments found in corn; orange in cantaloupe, butternut squash and mango; red from lycopene in tomatoes and water melon, and purple and blue in berries. Wild blueberries are the most beneficial. So enjoy eating an array of these nutrient-dense foods. It is best to obtain these antioxidants from foods instead of supplements.
Why Consuming Antioxidants is So Important
Antioxidants are believed to help prevent disease by fighting substances called”free radicals” that are produced when your body uses oxygen, as when breathing or when exposed to substances such as cigarette smoke.
Studies have shown that they play a primary role in living a longer and healthier life. Antioxidants enhance our immunity, make our muscles stronger, and keep our bones and skin healthy. Antioxidants help prevent premature aging, stroke, arthritis, heart disease, and cancer.
Vitamin C has been shown to aid in reducing the risk of various types of cancer, improving the immune system and reducing the risk of heart disease. It has even shown promise for protecting against the progression of the human immunodeficiency virus HIV.
Vitamin E has been shown to have far reaching antioxidant powers counteracting the effects of nervous system disorders and heart disease. Also, vitamin E may protect against eye diseases, such as macular degeneration and cataracts.
Selenium is an antioxidant which may reduce the risk of stroke, heart disease, and several types of cancer. Selenium is also important as a support for vitamin E in the fight against free radicals. Further, selenium is required for the antioxidant enzyme glutathione peroxidase to function properly in the body’s immune system. Studies also show that when people eat diets high in antioxidants, their risk of cancer and heart disease decreases. Antioxidants are a natural component of many fruits and vegetables that act as cell protectors.
Vitamin A plays an essential role in vision, particularly night vision, normal bone and tooth development, reproduction, and the health of skin and mucous membranes.
All in all, antioxidants play an important role in your nutrition, lifestyle and health.