If you have found yourself reading this, it is because you are interested in your personal well-being and longevity, or the health of someone close to you. Congratulations on taking this step to learning more about antioxidants and their incredible benefits.
Let’s firstly begin with why we need antioxidants. Each day our body is exposed to certain elements both naturally occurring in our body, and from our environment and diet. These elements cause damage to the molecules in our cells. This process is called oxidation and we can see it easily by observing an apple that when cut open, goes brown quickly. A similar process happens to our bodies cells. This damage creates Free Radicals that can cause chaos around our bodies by taking things from other formally healthy cells and leaving a trail of more free radicals in its wake. These damaged cells can lead to all sorts of health issues including cancer, heart disease and premature aging.
Our Bodies Defense
This may sound pretty scary and you’re wondering, what can I do? How is my body combating this? Our bodies are incredible organisms and have a built in defense whereby we create what is called antioxidants. These molecules roam the body and neutralize free radicals by giving them what they need.
So What’s the Problem?
The issue is that most of us live in a way that our bodies create too many free radicals due to our lifestyle, and the body’s defense is incapable of keeping up. The problem outweighs the body’s defense.
Antioxidants in our Diet
This is where consuming antioxidants in our diet is so important. We are essentially assisting our body in neutralizing free radicals by adding a lot more to our system through what we are eating. There are many different types of antioxidants. It is just as important to eat a full variety, as it is to eat them in the first place. Eating only tomatoes or only spinach is not going to have the affect we want.
The Four Main Antioxidants
There are four main antioxidants that we need to consume as our bodies don’t generate them. These are Vitamin E, Vitamin C, Betacarotene and Selenium. Each of these vitamins and minerals play a different role in neutralizing free radicals, they work in collaboration with each other. There are many more types of antioxidants but these are the main four. Below is a list of some of the foods you can find these antioxidants in. Please note this list is not exhaustive and there are many more foods containing these and other antioxidants. Remember the key here is variety.
What Foods can Help?
There are a lot of foods that contain antioxidants, here are just some examples.
- Vitamin E is found in nuts, seeds, beans and sweet potatoes.
- Vitamin C is found in citrus fruit, spinach, broccoli and strawberries.
- Betacarotene is found in carrots, pumpkin, peaches and tomatoes.
- Selenium is found in tuna, chicken, mushrooms and cabbage.
- A diet that has plenty of fruits, vegetables and plant based products is in general the best way to increase our antioxidant intake.