Antioxidants are molecules that are produced by the body, but are also found in the food we eat. They help to neutralize free radicals in the body that cause cell damage.
Free radicals are substances that are naturally formed in the body but are also created when we are exposed to environmental toxins, chemicals, cigarette smoke, UV light, radiation, and more.
To combat free radicals, we need antioxidants, and even if our body produces it’s own, it’s very important to get antioxidants from external sources such as fresh fruits and vegetables. They help to protect our DNA, as well as helping to boost our immune system and repair damaged molecules. The production of antioxidants in the body declines as we age.
Common types of antioxidants:
Vitamin A and carotenoids (such as liver, fish oil, eggs, carrots and dark leafy greens)
Vitamin C (found in fruits and vegetables)
Vitamin E (found in oils, avocado, nuts and seeds)
Selenium (found in Brazil nuts, seafood and fish)
Flavonoid/Polyphenol (found in red wine, tea and soy)
Lycopene (found in tomatoes and watermelon)
Lutein (found in dark green vegetables)
Lignan (found in oats and flax seeds)
TIP for more antioxidants in your diet: Eat the color of the rainbow!
Red: Tomatoes, red bell peppers, cranberries, cherries, raspberries, apples, strawberries, watermelon
Orange: Carrots, pumpkins, oranges, sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, peaches, apricots, mangoes, papaya
Yellow: Squash, corn, yellow bell pepper, lemons, bananas, pineapple
Green: Spinach, kale, broccoli, honeydew melon, avocado, asparagus, celery, zucchini, apples, pears, kiwi
Blue/Purple: Blueberries, blackberries, beets, cabbage, eggplant, grapes, figs, plums
White: Onions, pears, cauliflowers, mushrooms