What are antioxidants and what do they contain?

Written By O. Love

Some products have bright labels on their packages that contain vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Many of you may already know that antioxidants are substances that stop the oxidative processes in the body.

Thus, they help the internal organs to effectively perform all their functions and, in general, slow down the aging process. But the question is – why do oxidative processes start in our bodies and how exactly do they harm our health?

In the framework of this article, I propose to understand all this. As always, briefly and in simple words, so that everything is clear. At the same time, let’s talk about how to provide the body with the necessary dose of antioxidants.

 

The human body really needs antioxidants, and now we will figure out why…

Oxidative processes in the body

In the human body, metabolic processes are constantly taking place – most of all this phenomenon is known as metabolism. Thanks to the metabolism, all living creatures can develop, multiply, maintain structure and respond to environmental influences.

As a result of chemical activity in the body, compounds are constantly produced that are called free radicals . They cause oxidation, in which atoms and molecules lose some of their electrons, which leads to the destruction of cells.

At a minimum, oxidative processes can cause premature aging – a person’s hair will turn gray early, wrinkles will appear, and so on. In the long term, this destruction can lead to dangerous diseases and shorten life expectancy.

Free radicals destroy cells

The human body already knows how to cope with the action of oxidative processes. For example, it produces the antioxidant substance superoxide dismutase, which controls the actions of free radicals, either by destroying them before they cause damage, or by replacing lost electrons in damaged atoms and molecules.

But the body copes well only with free radicals that have arisen inside the body. But they can penetrate the body from the outside, along with cigarette smoke and other contaminants. Therefore, antioxidants must be supplemented with food.

Free radicals can enter the body from the environment

What are antioxidants?

In addition to antioxidants that are produced by the body, there are types that are found in food. There are many varieties that can be roughly divided into three categories:

  • carotenoids, including beta-carotene, lycopene, zeaxanthin, and so on, are natural pigments that are responsible for the color of fruits and vegetables;
  • polyphenols, including flavonoids, coumarins, anthocyanins, lignans, and so on;
  • vitamins A, E and C.

What foods are high in antioxidants?

To a greater extent, it is precisely because of the content of antioxidants that people are advised to consume more fruits and vegetables.

There is no official data on the daily rate of antioxidants, but it is advised to eat as many fruits and vegetables of different colors as possible – this way you can get a greater variety of substances that stop oxidative processes.

Every person’s diet should include fruits and vegetables of different colors.

Here is a list of foods high in antioxidants, ranked from least to most:

  • tomatoes, peach, pumpkin – up to 1000 mcg / 100 g;
  • melon, apricot – up to 2000 mcg / 100 g;
  • sweet pepper, mango, sorrel – up to 4000 mcg / 100 g;
  • dried apricots, spinach – up to 5000 mcg / 100 g;
  • raw carrots – up to 10,000 mcg / 100 g.

I note that the information mentioned above is taken from open sources. If you know of other foods high in antioxidants, write in the comments.

Benefits of Antioxidants

And finally, let’s briefly go over the effect that a sufficient amount of antioxidants brings to the body. In the course of numerous studies, scientists have found that antioxidants help:

  • slow down the aging process, a person will no longer have gray hair and wrinkles;
  • reduce cholesterol levels, which protects against cardiovascular disease;
  • reduce the risk of developing cancer and other dangerous diseases;
  • protect the organs of vision;
  • fight the harmful effects of the environment, that is, those living in areas with polluted air are especially in need of antioxidants.

Antioxidants help keep you young

In conclusion, I note that a healthy diet should also be treated wisely.

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