Introduce antioxidants into your diet
Healthy Living

Introduce antioxidants into your diet

Authored by Sudha naidu on 4 Oct 2013 - 23:30

You may have heard a lot about antioxidants and the value they add to the food, in terms of protecting your body from diseases.

What are antioxidants?

Antioxidants are natural substances that may stop or limit the damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are molecules produced when your body breaks down food, or by environmental exposures like tobacco smoke and radiation. Free radicals can damage cells, and may play a role in heart disease, cancer and other diseases.

Your body uses antioxidants to stabilize the free radicals. This keeps them from causing damage to other cells. Antioxidants can protect and reverse the damage caused by oxidation to some extent. However, research has not shown antioxidant supplements to be beneficial in preventing diseases. Examples of antioxidants include vitamins C and E, selenium, and carotenoids, such as beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein, and zeaxanthin.

What foods are good sources of antioxidants?

To get the most antioxidants, eat a diet that includes a healthy mix of colorful fruits and vegetables and other antioxidant-rich foods:

  • Vitamin A is found in milk, liver, butter and eggs.
    Fruits rich in anti-oxidants
  • Vitamin C is found in most fruits and vegetables. Those with the highest amounts of vitamin C include papayas, strawberries, oranges, cantaloupe and kiwi, as well as bell peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, tomatoes, cauliflower and kale.
  • Vitamin E is found in some nuts and seeds, including almonds, sunflower seeds, hazelnuts and peanuts. It can also be found in green leafy vegetables, such as spinach and kale, and in oils, such as soybean, sunflower, corn and canola oils.
  • Beta-carotene is found in colorful fruits and vegetables, including carrots, peas, cantaloupe, apricots, papayas, mangoes, peaches, pumpkin, apricots, broccoli, sweet potatoes and squash. It can also be found in some leafy green vegetables, including beet greens, spinach and kale.
  • Lutein is found in green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, collards and kale, broccoli, corn, peas, papayas and oranges.
  • Lycopene is found in pink and red fruits and vegetables, such as pink grapefruit, watermelon, apricots and tomatoes.
  • Selenium is found in cereals (corn, wheat and rice), nuts, legumes, animal products 

·         Nuts, grains, and some meats, poultry and fish also contain antioxidants.

Research: Concerns have not been raised about the safety of antioxidants in food. However, high-dose supplements of antioxidants may be linked to health risks in some cases. Supplementing with high doses of beta-carotene may increase the risk of lung cancer in smokers. Supplementing with high doses of vitamin E may increase risks of prostate cancer and one type of stroke.

Antioxidant supplements may interact with some medicines.

The best way to get antioxidants is by eating a diet with lots of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, seeds and nuts. If you take a multi-vitamin supplement, be careful. Too much of some nutrients, such as vitamins E and A or selenium, can be harmful. Be sure to talk to your doctor before taking any vitamin supplements.

*Disclaimer: This is not medical advice. The content is for educational purposes only. Please contact your doctor for any health care issues.