*Antioxidant 101 & Nutrition Analysis
What Are Antioxidants and Why Do They Benefit Me?
Antioxidants are substances or nutrients in our foods which can prevent or slow the oxidative damage to our body. When our body cells use oxygen, they naturally produce free radicals (by-products) which can cause damage. Antioxidants act as “free radical scavengers”, helping to prevent and repair damage done by these free radicals. Health problems such as heart disease, muscular degeneration, diabetes, cancer, etc. are all contributed by oxidative damage. In fact, a recent study conducted by researchers from London found that 5 servings of fruits and vegetables reduce the risk of stroke by 25 percent. Antioxidants may also enhance immune defense and therefore lower the risk of cancer and infection.
Most Commonly Known Antioxidants
- Vitamin A and Carotenoids
- Carrots, squash, broccoli, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, kale, collards, cantaloupe, peaches and apricots (bright-colored fruits and vegetables!)
- Vitamin C
- Citrus fruits like oranges and lime etc., green peppers, broccoli, green leafy vegetables, strawberries and tomatoes.
- Vitamin E
- Nuts & seeds, whole grains, green leafy vegetables, vegetable oil and liver oil.
- Fish & shellfish, red meat, grains, eggs, chicken and garlic.
Other Common Antioxidants
Some common phytochemicals
- Flavonoids / polyphenols
- red wine
- purple grapes or Concord grapes
- Tomato and tomato products
- pink grapefruit
- dark green vegetables such as kale, broccoli, kiwi, brussels sprout and spinach
- flax seed
- Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)
Antioxidant enzymes made by the body:
- superoxide dismutase (SOD)
- glutathione peroxidase