We Hear A Lot About Antioxidants – But What Are They Really?

We hear this word often, but what are antioxidants really?


Women's Health |

Photography by Unsplash/Glen Carrie

We hear this word often, but what are antioxidants really?

Antioxidants are substances or nutrients found in our food and drinks, which can prevent or slow the oxidative damage to our bodies.

What is Oxidative Damage?

When our body cells use oxygen, they naturally produce by-products called free radicals, which are able to cause damage to cells and tissues in our bodies. Antioxidants act like “free radical scavengers” and so are able to prevent and repair damage done by these free radicals.

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Research has shown that oxidative damage contributes to the development of many common health problems, like heart disease, macular degeneration, diabetes, cancer, are all. Studies have shown that loading up on vegetables and fruit, the main sources of antioxidants, lowers our risk of developing disease.

Antioxidants may also improve immune defences and therefore may lower the risk of cancer and infection.

What Are the Commonly Known Antioxidants?

Vitamin A and Carotenoids in carrots, squash, broccoli, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, spanspek, peaches and apricots (bright-coloured fruits and vegetables).

Vitamin C in citrus fruits like oranges, lemons etc., green peppers, broccoli, green leafy vegetables, strawberries, tomatoes and potatoes

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Vitamin E In nuts and seeds, whole grains, green leafy vegetables, vegetable oils and liver oil.

Selenium in fish and shellfish, red meat, grains, eggs, chicken and garlic.

Make getting enough vegetables and fruit part of your healthy daily eating plan, to get preventative power of the antioxidants in these foods – it’s vital for your health. Combining this with active living, a healthy body weight and regular health screening will drop your disease risk even further.

Here are the 3 times you need to take a supplement, according to a dietician. Plus: What are amino acid supplements – and will they really improve your workout?

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