Antioxidants and Free Radicals
Antioxidants and Free Radicals

Antioxidants and Free Radicals

Antioxidants. We’ve all heard of the term. Some of us know what it means, others vaguely. The agreement is that it generally means something good. An antioxidant is a term used to describe a substance that shields your cells against free radicals. “Free Radicals” refers to volatile molecules that can damage DNA and other parts of cells. They lack a full balance of their electrons and take them from other cells, causing damage to their molecules (oxidative stress).

Antioxidants play an essential role in this process by sacrificing some of their electrons and counterbalancing free radicals. It helps stop a chain reaction that harms many molecules in cells found in our body.

Free Radicals

Free radicals form a part of our everyday lives, as harmful as they can be. The body produces them in response to threatening environments such as air pollution, smoke, and UV rays. However, free radicals are a result of normal cell processes. Free radicals are needed to activate some beneficial effects produced by regular exercise and physical activity. The body also produces free radicals to fight off viruses, bacteria, and diseases. 

Neutralizing Free Radicals

It’s essential to supply the body with the correct amount of antioxidants to combat their destructive effects. Do this by adding foods rich in Vitamins E and C to your diet. Your body also naturally produces powerful antioxidants of its own!

Foods Containing Antioxidants

As mentioned above, antioxidants generally contain Vitamins E and C. Below is a list of foods high in antioxidants that you can add to your meals for a more balanced diet. 

Blueberries

Low in calories and high in antioxidants, blueberries are a great option to add to your diet. Studies show that blueberries contain the highest number of antioxidants out of all consumed fruits and vegetables.

Raspberries

These tasty berries are an excellent source of Vitamin C, dietary fiber. They’re great for limiting heart disease and cancer, and make a fantastic ingredient for desserts! Match them with the next one on our list to make some sweet treats.

Dark Chocolate

This delectable treat can contain more antioxidants than even raspberries and blueberries. Additionally, antioxidants in cocoa were associated with health benefits such as the reduced risk for heart disease and anti-inflammatory purposes.

Pecans

Pecans contain a large number of healthy fats and minerals. They assist with boosting antioxidant levels in the blood and lowering cholesterol. However, pecans also are high in calories, so keep a close eye on how many add to your diet.

Strawberries

You rarely find a person who dislikes strawberries. They are arguably the most popular berry on the planet. They contain a specific kind of antioxidant called anthocyanins, which gives them their notorious red color. What’s more, they lower cholesterol and the risk of heart disease.

Beans

These legumes are inexpensive, high in fiber, and one of the best vegetable sources for antioxidants. Certain types of beans contain a particular antioxidant named kaempferol. This antioxidant has been linked with health benefits such as suppressing cancer growth and reducing chronic inflammation.