Antioxidants are substances that can prevent or slow the damage to cells due to free radicals, volatile molecules that the body produces as a reaction to environmental and other stressors.
They are sometimes called “Free Radical Sky Managers”.
Sources of antioxidants can be natural or artificial. Some plant-based foods are thought to be rich in antioxidants. Plant-based antioxidants are a type of fattening nutrient, or plant based nutrient.
The body also produces some antioxidants, called endogenous antioxidants. Antioxidants that come from outside the body are called exoskeleton.
Free radicals are cells produced by cells as the body processes food and reacts to the environment. If the body cannot efficiently process and remove free radicals, oxidative stress can result. It can damage cells and body functions. Independent radicals are also known as reactive oxygen species (ROS).
Factors that increase the production of free radicals in the body can be internal, such as inflammation, or external, for example, contamination, UV exposure, and cigarette smoke.
Oxidative stress has been linked to heart disease, cancer, arthritis, stroke, respiratory diseases, immune deficiency, emphysema, Parkinson’s disease, and other inflammatory or ischemic conditions.
Antioxidants are said to help neutralize the free radicals in our body, and it promotes overall health.
Antioxidants can protect against cell damage that causes free radicals, known as oxidative stress.
Activities and processes that cause oxidative stress include:
- environmental pollution
- exposure to chemicals, such as pesticides and drugs, including chemotherapy
- industrial solvents
- mitochondrial activity
- excessive exercise
- tissue trauma, due to inflammation and injury
- ischemia and reperfusion damage
- consumption of certain foods, especially refined and baked foods, trans fats, artificial sweeteners, and certain dyes and additives
Such activity and exposure can lead to cell damage.
As a result, it could be:
- increase in enzymes that produce free radicals
- a disruption of electron transport chains
- Excessive release of free iron or metal ions.
- Activation of phagocytes, a type of white blood cell that plays a role in fighting infection.
All of these can result in oxidative stress.
Damage caused by antioxidants is related to cancer, atherosclerosis, and loss of vision. It is considerd that free radicals cause changes in the cells that lead to these and possibly other conditions.
It is thought to use antioxidants in order to reduce these risks.
Other research indicates that antioxidant supplements can help reduce vision loss due to age-related macular degeneration in the elderly.
However, overall, there is no evidence that high doses of specific antioxidants can lower the risk of the disease. In most cases, the results showed no benefit, or harmful effect, or were inconsistent.
Types of Antioxidants:
There are hundreds and possibly thousands of substances that can be thought of as antioxidants. Each one has its own role and can communicate with others to help the body function effectively..
Examples of some antioxidants that come from outside the body include:
- vitamin A
- vitamin C
- vitamin E
Flavonoids, flavones, catechins, polyphenols and phytoestrogens are all types of antioxidants and phytonutrients, all of which are found in plant foods.
Each antioxidant serves a different function and is not exchanged with the other. This is why it is important to have a diverse diet.
The best sources of antioxidants are plant-based foods, especially vegetables fruit.
Foods that are especially high in antioxidants are often referred to as “super food” or “functional food.”
To get some specific antioxidants, try adding the following to your diet:
Vitamin A: Milk production, eggs and liver.
Vitamin C: Most fruits and vegetables, especially beers, oranges and bell peppers.
Vitamin E: nuts and seeds, other vegetable and sunflower oils, and green leafy vegetables.
Beta Carotene: Bright colored fruits and vegetables, such as carrots, peas, spinach and mangoes.
Lycopene: Pink and red fruits and vegetables, including tomatoes and watermelon.
Lottery: Green, leafy vegetables, corn, papaya, and orange.
Selenium: rice, corn, wheat and other grains as well as nuts, eggs, cheese and beans
Other foods that are considered to be good sources of antioxidants.
- red grapes
- dark chocolate
- goji berries
- legumes such as black beans or kidney beans
- green and black teas
Effect of cooking
In particular, cooking can either increase or decrease the levels of antioxidants.
Lycopene is an antioxidant that gives tomatoes their perfect red color. When treated with tomato heat, lycopene becomes more bioavailable (our bodies have easier to process and use).
However, studies show that cabbage, peas and zucchini lose most of their antioxidant activity in the cooking process. Keep in mind that the most important thing is to eat plenty of antioxidants, cooked and raw.
The following tips may help to increase your antioxidant content.
Whenever you add fruits or vegetables, add food and snacks.
One cup of green or sweet tea every day.
Look at the color of your plate. If your diet is mostly brown or beige, antioxidant levels are likely to decrease. Add richly colored foods, such as bananas, beets and beers.
Use turmeric, turmeric, oregano, ginger, cloves and cinnamon to spice up the flavor and antioxidant content in your food.
Have breakfast on nuts, seeds, especially Brazilian nuts, sunflower seeds, and dried fruits, but choose one without sugar or salt.
It is worth remembering that, although studies have linked the use of fruits and vegetables to better overall health, it is not clear whether this is due to the activity of antioxidants. In addition, caution is needed about supplements.
- Free radicals have been linked to a range of diseases, including heart disease, cancer, and vision impairment, but this does not mean that increased intake of antioxidants will protect against these diseases. Artificial sources of antioxidants may increase the risk of some health problems.
- As a result, in the form of a healthy diet, it is important to look for natural sources of antioxidants.
- Use of fruits and vegetables has been associated with a lower rate of chronic diseases, and antioxidants can play a role. However, it is unlikely that added antioxidants, especially processed foods, will yield significant benefits.
- In addition, anyone who is considering taking antioxidant supplements should talk to a health provider first.