What are they, after all?

Antioxidants are substances that help fighting free radicals that are formed during cellular processes and are responsible for premature aging, cardiovascular diseases or certain cancers. 
When we have a healthy lifestyle and a diet that includes a variety of fresh food, especially vegetables and fruits, there is great chance that our body will be protected from these harmful elements. In this situation, the antioxidants that we eat on food, along with those that are produced by our body, may be sufficient to minimize its harmful effects. But with the amount of pollutants, the consumption of tobacco, alcohol and fat beverage, the amount of free radicals can be much higher than the antioxidants the body produces. So, it is very important to ingest food that is rich in antioxidants. 

Where are they?

Although we can find them in the form of supplements, the ideal is to ingest them through food to avoid any risk of overdose, which leads to health risks. In the group of antioxidants, we can find: vitamins A, C and E, selenium, zinc and polyphenols. 
Red wine, grapes, green tea, cocoa, olive oil and olives are some examples of food rich in polyphenols. Vitamins can be found especially on fruit and vegetable products. Vitamin A is mainly found in fruits or yellow or orange food and also in some fish. Vitamin C is mainly in fruit and red or dark green vegetables. We can find vitamin E in olive oil, vegetable oils and oleaginous fruits like walnuts, almonds, etc. The zinc is present on dried fruit as well as in whole grains, seafood and egg selenium. In a low way in refined grains. 

How much should we eat?

To achieve a balanced diet, which means consuming the recommended amount of all nutrients that are essential for keeping a good lifestyle and a healthy one, there’s no need to favor a specific group of food. Just find New Wheels for Food, a simple way, based on a graphic, where you can see the amount of food is needed to consume each day. The recipe, regarding the consumption of antioxidants, tell us that the group which includes fruit and vegetables should consume at least five servings per day, the equivalent to three pieces of fruit and 200g of vegetables or, if you prefer, 300g of vegetable and two pieces of fruit. 
The big secret is to vary within each group! We should not make the mistake of privileging one or two types of food instead of others, otherwise we can have, simultaneously, excess of some nutrients and a shortage of others. 

What means free radicals?

Free radicals are molecules with an independent existence that are produced in the course of our breathing process. Of all the oxygen we breathe every day, 2 to 5% is converted into free radicals, which are not entirely detrimental. 
When produced in moderate amounts, the radicals are important to fight bacteria’s and viruses present in our body. Our metabolism produces numerous substances to neutralize them. 
However, when we start to produce them in excess, they become harmful because they damage the healthy cells and therefor they increase the risk of develop chronical diseases, such as atherosclerosis, hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cataracts, alzheimer, cancer, neurological disorders (eg Parkinson’s disease), arthritis and premature aging. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *