Antioxidants are naturally occurring nutrients found in food. They protect the body and the immune system from free radicals, which can be harmful molecules generated in the body. Free radicals are caused by oxidative processes in the body like the burning of sugars for energy, the release of digestive enzymes to break down food and the processing of environmental pollutants.
The term free radical really refers to an atom or molecule which has at least one unpaired electron. This unpaired electron is particularly reactive to other atoms or groups of atoms and therefore excessive free radicals can interfere with the cells ability to function normally.
An antioxidant will neutralize the free radical by pairing up the unpaired electron or by preventing the oxidation in the first location. In the procedure the antioxidant will actually become oxidized itself so antioxidants will need to be replaced regularly. Oxidation is a natural process of living and it cannot be avoided however, preventing the damage from oxidation is vital.
Some common antioxidants contain vitamin A and Arytenoids found in orange foods such as pumpkin and butternut squash, vitamin C found in citrus fruits and berries, Vitamin E from nuts, seeds and whole grains, Selenium from fish, shellfish, red meat, eggs and poultry.
Antioxidants also consist of various photochemical such as Flavonoids and polyphenol, which are available in soy, red wine, grapes, cranberries and tea. Lycopene from tomatoes and watermelon. Lute in from dark green vegetables like kale, spinach and broccoli and Lignin, which can be found in whole grains such as barley and oats and also in flax seeds.
There are also vitamin-like Antioxidants such as Coenzyme Q10 CoQ10 and Glutathione and antioxidant enzymes produced by the body such as superoxide dismutase SOD, catalyse and glutathione peroxidise.
Antioxidants are crucial to our health. In the last few years many antioxidants in Lone Star Centers have become available in the form of nutritional supplements. While some antioxidant supplements like vitamin C supplements have been shown to be relatively safe other single antioxidants have been shown to be harmful.
No single antioxidant can protect the human body and it is the synergy of nourishment that offers the value as opposed to the individual antioxidant. So the best way to get your antioxidants is by consuming a diet of healthy, nutritious food with an Focus on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats and fish.
It is recommended that we have at least 5 or more portions a day of fruits and Vegetables and much more might even be better. After all most fruits and vegetables are reduced calorie and nutrient dense so we can eat them freely without fear of Weight gain and there is not any known threat from consuming your antioxidants through Food instead of supplements.