What are Antioxidants?
Antioxidants are substances found in foods that reverse oxidative damage in the cells. When cells in one’s body use oxygen, they create harmful byproducts known as free radicals, a process that is emulated when metal rusts or apples turn brown. This process is called oxidative stress, and it contributes to aging and the decline of bodily functions.
What are the health benefits of Antioxidants?
When released into the body, free radicals may cause diseases such as heart disease, macular degeneration, diabetes, cancer, and Alzheimer’s. Antioxidants work against these free radicals and have the potential to reverse the damage that has been done to the body. Different antioxidants serve different functions, and examples of more commonly known antioxidants include vitamin A which helps form bones, vitamin C which assists immune function, vitamin E which assists in the utility of oxygen, bioflavonoids which benefit the skin and hair, and alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) which facilitates the re-use of vitamins C and E.
What foods are good sources of Antioxidants?
Fruits and vegetables offer the most significant source of these substances, and the presence of antioxidants are often associated with the brighter, more colorful forms of produce. Vitamin A can be found in carrots, squash, and sweet potatoes. Vitamin C can be found in citrus fruits, broccoli, and green leafy vegetables. Vitamin E can be found in green leafy vegetables as well as nuts and seeds. Bioflavonoids can be found in red wine, cranberries, and tea. ALA can be found in meats of the kidney, heart, and liver as well as spinach, broccoli, and potatoes. Blueberries contain a variety of antioxidants, including vitamins C and E.
Are there other ways to take Antioxidants?
There are antioxidant supplements available online and in health food stores, though their efficacy is still under scrutiny through various scientific studies. Obtaining antioxidants naturally from foods is generally considered to be the most beneficial and healthy practice.
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