We’ve all heard about antioxidants and how great they are for our health.
But what exactly are antioxidants and how do they function in the body?
Antioxidants serve to neutralize free radicals.
Free radicals are produced by the body’s metabolism – as well as occasionally by exposure to radiation and environmental toxins.
Highly reactive, free radicals can cause damage at a cellular level, and are implicated in the development and onset of many diseases, especially age-related ones.
Fortunately, antioxidants can neutralize these destructive free radicals, protecting us from the damage they can cause.
“In healthy individuals, a delicate balance exists between free radicals and antoxidants,” one paper explains(1).
“In some pathologic conditions such as diabetes, and in critically ill patients, oxidative stress causes the level of antioxidants to fall below normal… as a preventative measure against certain diseases, the best approach for healthy individuals is to regularly consume adequate amounts of antioxidant-rich foods.”
But how can you be sure you’re getting enough antioxidants in your daily diet? Here are a number of known antioxidants and foods that they’re commonly found in:
1. Beta Carotene
Beta carotene is found in carrots (of course), sweet potatoes, pumkins, squash, mangoes, pommegranates, and parsley. It’s an antioxidant that belongs to the carotenoids group – our bodies convert it into vitamin A.
Found in fruits like watermelon, red grapefruit, and tomatoes, lycopene is another antioxidant from the carotenoid group. It is known to protect against prostate cancer(4), and serve to promote healthy heart function(5).
Like many antioxidants, it’s also great for your skin.
4. Vitamin C
You probably already know where to find vitamin C – citrus fruits like oranges are an excellent source, but so are strawberries, peppers, and various berries.
This antioxidant is known for being great for the immune system, but it also has anti-cancer properties(8).