What is the Importance of Antioxidants?

By - Updated Nov 18, 2014

You’ve probably been hearing a lot about “antioxidants”, but do you really know what it means? Is that a chemical substance or an ingredient of a pesticide? Neither of the two is correct. Antioxidants are natural elements found in certain foods which have a neutralizing effect against free radicals. Free radicals are the main sources of some of the most fatal diseases in the world like cancer, heart illnesses and macular degeneration. Antioxidants basically neutralize free radicals thus preventing damage on cells.

Thus, if your diet consists of high-antioxidant food, then you are secured and protected from harmful elements that can cause health problems.

In order to have a big picture, here is a short explanation of the importance of antioxidants :

Different Types of Antioxidants

What is the Importance of Antioxidants

It has been established that antioxidants are very helpful to the body. Now, how will you know if a food has antioxidants?

The different kinds of antioxidants are :

  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Selenium
  • Beta Carotene
  • Glutathione
  • Polyphenols
  • Zinc

Where Can You Find Antioxidants?

Any food with Vitamin C, E, selenium, glutathione, polyphenols, zinc, and beta carotene has antioxidants.

The following are the examples of food with antioxidants :

  • Vitamin C – Oranges, tomatoes, green veggetabl, lemon, citrus fruits, grapefruits, red pepper, green pepper and yellow pepper.
  • Vitamin E – Whole grains, brown rice, vegetable oil, nuts and dark leafy veggies.
  • Selenium – Wheat germ, garlic, onions, whole grains, poultry, seafood, and Brazil nuts.
  • Beta Carotene – Sweet potatoes, mangoes, broccoli, red pepper, yellow pepper and carrots.
  • Polyphenols – Grapes, berries, red wine, cocoa black and green tea.
  • Glutathione – Asparagus, parsley, and avocado.
  • Zinc – Sesame seed, spinach, pumpkin seeds, and red meat.

The Mechanics of Antioxidants

The importance of antioxidants has been established in the beginning part of this article. But how do antioxidants work?

The body naturally produces free radicals as a response to metabolic processes. They can also be triggered by stressors such as environment toxins, poor diet, and chronic stress. These elements are actually molecules with unpaired electrons. What they do is they interact with other molecules in your body. Sometimes they steal molecules which lead to misbalance. This process can also damage the system and create different kinds of illnesses. This is where antioxidants are very helpful. If you eat foods which are rich in antioxidants, you can prevent such damage and therefore avoid experience certain illnesses.

Conclusions

The importance of antioxidants is basically because they fight free radicals. You should select a diet which is rich in vitamin C, E, selenium, glutathione, polyphenols, zinc, and beta carotene. Antioxidant supplements like vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc and glutathione are also available. Whether you get your antioxidants from food or supplements is not important. The more important part is that you get these free-radical fighting agents to help your body stay healthy and strong.

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Contributor : alina (Colon Health Magazine)

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