Antioxidants: What is it and why you need it?
The word “antioxidants” has become quite trendy. Everybody seems to be talking about foods containing antioxidants and their importance for our health. But do you know what antioxidants really are and you we need them?
What is it?
Your body cells are constantly being attacked by threats like viruses and infections. Also, the so-called free radicals can damage cells and DNA. Some cells can recover from these damages while others find it a difficult task. Researchers say that free radicals are one of the reasons people grow old, among other negative impacts.
And here is where antioxidants come into the picture. Your body uses antioxidants to protect itself from the destructive nature of the free radicals that can be found in some foods and the surrounding environment. In other words, antioxidants are important for creating balance and boosting your immune systems.
What to do?
Let`srecap, free radicals are natural man-made elements with destructive powers. For example, some of the free radicals can be produced in the following ways:
- smoking and consuming alcohol
- exposing yourself excessively to ultraviolet rays
- eating substances found in processed food
- inhaling polluted air/drinking polluted water etc.
But even if you strive to lead a healthy life, your body still produces free radicals when it turns food into energy. So, how to fight and limit the effects of free radicals? By benefiting from the powers of antioxidants. Your body naturally produces some antioxidants. It is also possible to get them from foods. Here are some antioxidant types and where to find them:
- Vitamin A – in butter, milk, eggs, liver, carrots and etc.
- Vitamin C – in many fruits and vegetables like peppers, berries, broccoli and others.
- Vitamin E – in nuts and seeds like almonds, sunflower seeds, hazelnuts, as well as green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale.
- Beta-carotene – vegetables such as carrots, peas, broccoli, squash and sweet potatoes. In addition, brightly colored fruits like papayas and mangoes, among others.
- Lycopene – in pink and red fruits and vegetables like tomatoes, apricots, watermelons and others.
- Selenium – in fish, turkey, chicken, rice, grains, and wheat but also cheese, nuts, legumes, eggs and others.
Another way to supply more antioxidants is through taking supplements.
NOTE: Too much antioxidants can be harmful since maintaining a balance is vital. Different people respond to antioxidants in different ways and they can also interact with some medicines. Always consult a doctor before changing your diet or taking supplements.
Source: Family Doctor