Antioxidants are nutrients found in foods or dietary supplements, which can prevent or delay oxidative damage in our body and cells. Our cells naturally produce by-products called free radicals when using oxygen. Despite it being the body’s natural process, these free radicals can cause damage in the future. Antioxidants work as “free radical scavengers”, finding the free radicals and repairing any damage caused by them.
When oxidative damage occurs in the body for an extended period of time, individuals can develop diseases such as macular degeneration, diabetes, heart disease and cancers. Therefore, a diet which includes antioxidant rich foods is highly recommended.
Commonly known antioxidants:
It is recommended for women to consume 800mcg daily and for men to consume 1000 mcg daily.
Sources of vitamin A include egg yolk, cheddar cheese, milk, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, cantaloupe, broccoli, apricots, spinach, carrots, tomatoes, and peaches.
It is recommended for both men and women to consume approximately 60mg daily.
Sources of vitamin C include citrus juices and fruits, tomatoes, berries, potatoes (with skin), green and red peppers, broccoli, and spinach.
It is recommended for women to consume 8mg daily and for men to consume 10mg daily.
Sources of vitamin E include wheat germ, vegetable oil, avocado, whole grain products, egg yolk, nuts and seeds, peanut butter, and green leafy vegetables.
Other antioxidants include lutein, lycopene and selenium.
Lutein is found in foods with a yellow or orange pigment such as corn, cantaloupe, butternut squash and mangoes.
Lycopene is found is foods with a red pigment such as tomatoes and watermelon.
You can find selenium in foods such as fish and shellfish, red meat, chicken, eggs and grains.
Antioxidants can be used to help treat or prevent medical conditions such as cancers, coronary artery disease, macular degeneration, Alzheimer’s and even some arthritis related conditions. Studies suggest it is best to get your antioxidants from a diet rich in fruits and vegetables rather than supplements. No single antioxidant alone can protect the body, therefore it is imperative to consume a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. The brighter the color the better!