Antioxidants: What Are They and Why Do They Matter?
Throughout the pandemic, and even prior to the pandemic, there has been lots of talk about antioxidants and their usefulness to keep us healthy. What are antioxidants? Why are they useful? They are found in orange juice and Emergen-C packets. Where else are antioxidants found? This information is not as widely known as it should be. So, let’s dive into these questions and learn more.
What are Antioxidants? Why are They Beneficial?
Antioxidants are particles that reduce free radicals in the body. Free radicals are compounds that harm cells in your body if there is an excessive amount of them. Antioxidants prevent damage done to cells by these free radicals. Our bodies can produce antioxidants as part of our immune system to keep these free radical levels with a tolerable range. If we did not have antioxidants performing this important job, then our bodies would experience extreme levels of free radicals which would be very harmful.
What are Sources of Antioxidants?
As previously mentioned, our bodies generate its own antioxidants. An example of such is the cellular antioxidant glutathione. You can also find antioxidants in plant and animal sources. This is because they have to fight against free radicals as well.
It’s important to consume adequate antioxidants, which you are most likely already doing if you consume enough fruits, vegetables, and (possibly if it fits your food preferences) meats. Specifically, foods that contain Vitamin C and Vitamin E. Both of these vitamins have antioxidant properties that function just the same as the ones our bodies produce. These vitamins, namely, are essential antioxidants – meaning they are important. There are also non-essential antioxidants within food sources that play an important role in general health.
Examples of foods that contain antioxidants include citrus fruits (orange, lemon, lime, etc.), berries, green tea, coffee, and dark chocolate. Meats and fish do contain antioxidants, but not as much as plant sources.
The Bottom Line
Antioxidants play an important role in our health and function. They are primarily found in fruits and vegetables, but also in small amounts in meats and seafood. Consuming a wide variety of each food group will increase the chance that you are consuming adequate antioxidants.
Want to learn more about antioxidants, or about how food can benefit you? Book a free 10-minute consultation with me to learn more!