Compiling a list of antioxidants, their uses and their more common sources is a great way to not only add variety to your diet, but help protect your body. Antioxidants are frequently found in much of the fresh food we eat every day. By increasing the amount and variety of foods we eat with these nutrients, we can improve our overall health, control weight gain and protect our bodies from disease and illness.
As our bodies use oxygen and process energy, our cells become exposed to free radicals in our environment that cause damage to our DNA. That damage can lead to diseases like heart disease and cancer. Science has found that antioxidants can counteract that damage. Antioxidants are unique nutrients that act to neutralize the damage to our cells caused by free radicals. Adding or increasing their presence in our diets can provide amazing health benefits long-term.
Increasing your intake of colorful fruits and vegetables is one of the quickest and easiest ways to get more antioxidants into your daily diet. You’ll want to make sure you select a rainbow of colors for meals, as each color grouping tends to provide its own unique variety of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Some of the most common antioxidants found in our food, that our bodies can not produce on their own include:
It’s also referred to as ascorbic acid and is found in many citrus fruits, cereals, some beef, strawberries, poultry and fish. It’s been found to help the body resist infection and assists with the essential production of collagen in the body.
You’ll find it in egg yokes, milk, some cheese, squash, cantaloupe and liver. It is effective in helping the immune system fight infections from bacteria and viruses.
It’s abundant in mangos, almonds, broccoli, wheat germ and soy bean oils. It is a fat-soluable vitamin that has been found to be effective in fighting heart disease.
It’s an organic compound that’s actually an inactive form of vitamin A. You’ll find it in red-orange pigmented fruits and vegetables like carrots and sweet potatoes.
Is plentiful in fish, red meats, shellfish and garlic. It has been linked to effectively fighting prostate cancer.
Phytochemicals are chemical compounds, found naturally in plants that may have health benefits for the human body. Some key phytochemicals include:
- Lutein – found in brussel sprouts, dark green vegetables, kiwi, kale and spinach.
- Lycopene – found in pink grapefruit, tomato products and watermelon.
- Lignan – found in flaxseed and oatmeal.
- Flavonoids and polyphenois – found in tea, red wine, soy, cranberries and purple grapes.
Antioxidants that are vitamin-like in their properties include:
- Coenzyme Q10 – also called CoQ10 and is taken in dietary supplement form. It is produced by our bodies and is essential for basic cell function.
- Glutathione – a tripeptide that is actually produced within the cell of the body. Although it can be taken in dietary supplement form, it does occur naturally in the food we eat. If you are preparing fresh fruits, vegetables and meats regularly, you’re probably getting an adequate amount.
Take this list with you to the grocery store, and load up on disease-fighting antioxidants today!