Most people try to eat a healthy diet in order to prevent diseases like diabetes, heart attacks, and cancer. A healthy diet includes plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables because they contain important nutrients, including antioxidants. Antioxidants can help in disease prevention by helping fight destructive free radicals at the cellular level.
How Antioxidants Work
Antioxidants are produced within the body and they are also present in foods, especially fresh fruits and vegetables. They are an instrumental part of the body’s defence system, which is responsible for making sure you stay healthy by fighting free radicals. To understand how antioxidants work, it is important to understand the formation of free radicals and the role of oxidation.
Oxygen is carried throughout the body in the blood and electrons are added to oxygen molecules when they are removed from fatty acids, amino acids, and sugars to generate energy. This process creates unstable particles, which are free radicals, that end up combining with other elements in the body. Along with being produced naturally, free radicals are also formed when people are exposed to the sun’s UV rays and air pollution such as toxic chemicals and tobacco smoke, and also through intense physical activity.
To prevent free radicals from damaging the body’s cells, antioxidants oxidise themselves to keep volatile oxidation under control. When bodies are exposed to too much oxidative stress, cells can become damaged, which leads to chronic illnesses and advanced aging. To create more antioxidants, you can eat foods high in them or take supplements, like CoQ10, to make sure you have enough to help prevent cell damage and illnesses like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s.
Antioxidant Food Sources
Many nutrients are considered antioxidants including Vitamins C and E, carotene, lutein, and lycopene. All of these nutrients can be found in foods, which are the best source of antioxidants because they also have other helpful substances such as protein, fibre, and other vitamins and minerals. While supplements are also a good source of antioxidants, taking too much Vitamin E or other vitamins can be toxic, so it is important to be careful when using supplements and take them only as directed.
The best food sources of antioxidants include fresh fruits and vegetables, especially fruits that are darker in colour like blackberries, blueberries, cherries, plums, kiwi, and avocados. Vegetables that contain higher levels of antioxidants include spinach, red cabbage, artichokes, red and white potatoes, and broccoli. Other plant-based foods contain antioxidants as well including nuts, beans, oats, and herbs.
Green tea, red wine, fruit juices, and dark chocolate are some of the other antioxidant sources that you may want to include in your diet on a daily basis. By adding antioxidant foods and/or supplements into your diet, you will help your body function more efficiently and help prevent the damage that free radicals can do to your body if left unchecked. Not only can a multitude of diseases be prevented, but you can look and feel younger because antioxidants also help fight the signs of aging.