They may be responsible for improving and maintaining your health and could even help reduce the appearance of premature wrinkles. They’re not a figment of imagination, but a proven scientific fact! So, what are they?
The answer quite simply is… antioxidants!
You might have heard about them on the television, read about them in articles and been told about them by friends – but have you ever wondered what exactly antioxidants are, and what is it they do?
To make it clear: antioxidants are naturally occurring substances found in many fruits and vegetables that can help the body fight cell-oxidation causing, harmful substances that we are exposed to every day. Oxidation damages cells in our bodies and makes us more susceptible to disease.
And this is where antioxidants come into play.
Antioxidants: Added cell protection
Yes! Antioxidants can help protect body cells from oxidation and damage caused by UV light, smoking, air pollution, radiation and tissue inflammation. Studies have shown that consuming enough antioxidants helps ensure a healthy immune system, lower occurrences of cardiovascular disease and certain cancers, and prevent premature aging, Parkinson's disease and cataracts.
Where are antioxidants found?
Antioxidants are found in various food sources in the form of vitamins, minerals or other food ingredients. Here is a list of the various sources of antioxidants:
|Vitamin A||Fish oils, eggs, milk fortified with Vitamin A, carrots, spinach|
|Vitamin E||Vegetable oils, nuts and seeds, avocado|
|Vitamin C||Citrus fruits (lemon, orange), strawberry, papaya, mango, tomatoes, potatoes, green leafy vegetables, green pepper and broccoli|
(Gives fruits and vegetables its orange and yellow color)
|Carrots, sweet potatoes, red and yellow pepper, apricots, pumpkin, mango|
(Gives fruits and vegetables its red color)
|Tomatoes, pink grapefruit, watermelon, guava, papaya, and apricots|
|Selenium||Meat, fish, eggs, and grains|
You might have probably noticed that antioxidants are found more in colourful fruits and vegetables. Remember that it's important to eat at least five daily servings* of a wide variety of fruits and vegetables for more vitamins, minerals, healthy fibre and maximum antioxidant benefit.
* 1 serving = 1 vegetable or 1 fruit, ½ cup fresh juice or ½ cup cooked or chopped vegetables
Did you know?
Coffee is also a rich source of antioxidants, mainly polyphenols. This is good news for coffee drinkers because it can contribute significantly to their daily antioxidant intake.