You are probably familiar with the term antioxidants and consciously try and consume them, but what do they actually do?
During the course of our lives we come across free radicals in various forms. We create them naturally through various body processes like exercise and the conversion of food to energy as well as through environmental exposures such as cigarette smoke, air pollution and sunlight.
Free radicals are highly unstable molecules which create oxidation in our bodies. This oxidation causes damage to, and ages our cells, this damage in turn plays a role in disease onset.
Diseases linked to oxidative damage/stress include: cardiovascular diseases, cancers, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and eye diseases such as cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.
Antioxidants counteract this oxidative stress in our bodies, mopping up the damage. As such the free radical/antioxidant balance is crucial for keeping this oxidative stress under control.
We can work on reducing our own environmental exposure to free radicals, consuming a variety of antioxidants in our diets via colourful fruits and veg as well as lots of supplemental options.
Some examples of antioxidants include: vitamins C and E, selenium, quercetin, carotenoids such as beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein and zeaxanthin.
Food sources: Colourful fruit and vegetables, green tea, turmeric, dark chocolate, baobab, sumac, acai and many herbs & spices.
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