Antioxidants or molecules that fight compounds that may cause harm to the body. These compounds are known as free radicals. Free radicals tend to cause a lot of diseases however our body has its antioxidants to keep these free radical levels under check.
Antioxidants may be man-made or natural.
Natural sources of antioxidants can be found enormously in fruits vegetables and other plant-based whole foods.
Some of the natural agents like vitamin A vitamin C are also good antioxidants.
These antioxidants help in neutralizing the free radicals in the body. Without any antioxidants present in the body the free radicals tend to develop rapidly and call serious harm. However, free radicals are used by the body to fight infections.
So, the body has to find a natural balance of antioxidants and free radicals.
Free radicals are formed due to various external factors like
- Air pollution
- Smoke from a cigarette
- Consumption of alcohol
- Radiation caused by the sun.
- Oxygen deficiency in the body
- It may also be caused due to the deficiency of antioxidants.
Antioxidants in foods
The body can produce antioxidants. These antioxidants are called glutathione. Antioxidants are so important that our life depends on a few antioxidants which are found in a certain food. At the same time, there are many unwanted antioxidants that are present in the food.
Many studies suggest that coffee is the biggest source of antioxidants a person can acquire through his diet in western countries. Foods like meat and fish contain antioxidants. This food contains antioxidants but is relatively lesser than fruits and vegetables.
All the dietary antioxidants can be classified into two types
- water-soluble in antioxidants
- Fat-soluble antioxidants
The water-soluble antioxidants perform their duties in the fluid which are present inside and outside the cell whereas the fat-soluble antioxidants perform their duties in the cell membrane.
There should be the right amount of antioxidants in the body excess of antioxidants would also have a negative effect.
Usually, any medical professional would not suggest supplements that are loaded with antioxidants. Instead of supplements, antioxidant-rich whole foods are recommended.
Foods that are rich in antioxidants are
- Dark chocolate
- Pecan nuts
- Few varieties of cabbage
- Green leafy vegetables like spinach
- Green tea
Including foods that are rich in vitamin A, vitamin C vitamin E would help the body to gain natural sources of antioxidants.
All these foods which are rich in antioxidants are not only beneficial for the overall health they also have a lot of benefits, especially for the skin. Antioxidants are key components for skin health that prevent early aging and help the skin maintain youthfulness.
To sum up
As mentioned above the antioxidants play a major role in neutralizing the negative effects of free radicals in the body. They serve as a neutralizing agent in maintaining the natural balance of the radicals in the body.
Too many free radicals or too many antioxidants in the body may cause negative effects. It is important to understand that free radicals can cause damage but that doesn’t mean free radicals are the enemy.
Immunity cells require free radicals.
So, obtaining antioxidants in the right quantity from whole natural foods would benefit the body.