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How Antioxidants Protect Against Free Radicals


How Antioxidants Protect Against Free Radicals

Antioxidants are compounds that are found in certain foods whose job it is to neutralise the damaging free radicals produced by oxidation.

The body needs a certain percentage of free radicals in order to function effectively and efficiently.  However, when there is an overload of free radicals in the body, this can cause irreversible health issues including heart disease and some cancers. Oxidation can be enhanced by such environmental issues such as smoking, alcohol, sunlight, pollution, stress.

Antioxidants and Free Radicals

In order to understand antioxidants, it is important to understand free radicals.  Free radicals contain extra oxygen that destroy foreign and unwanted invaders in your body.  As mentioned, the problem occurs when there is an abundance of unwanted invaders thus increasing the amount of free radicals.  Your body cells become targets and so need to somehow ward off these free radicals.  This is where antioxidants come into play.
By consuming antioxidants, the number of free radicals in your body can be reduced.  Antioxidants can prevent up disease as well as mop up the damage caused by free radicals.  The best way in which to build up a foundation of antioxidants is to consume wholefoods.  Some foods contain more antioxidants than others.

Antioxidant Rich Foods

  • Foods containing dark pigments such as dark green leafy vegetables, red grapes and berries especially blueberries;
  • Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant.  Foods containing vitamin C includes broccoli, tomato, strawberries, citrus fruits;
  • Selenium acts as an antioxidant.  Foods contain selenium include brazil nuts, salmon, chicken, walnuts and brown rice.
  • Tomatoes contain the antioxidants lycopene and glutathione.  Glutathione supports the immune system.

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