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Everything you want to know about antioxidants

Everything you want to know about antioxidants
It's very important to include antioxidants in your diet ©Shutterstock

Although our body naturally produces some antioxidants, we can also keep our requirements updated by enriching our diet with certain foods and vitamins

Written by Editorial Team |Published : February 12, 2019 9:14 AM IST

When we read about diet essentials, the term antioxidants is mentioned very frequently. Our body is made up of millions of cells. These cells face threats every day from various external environmental stresses. These stresses trigger the generation of free radicals. Free radicals can damage your cells, DNA and wreak a havoc in metabolism. Some cells have the capability to heal from the damage, while others do not. Scientists believe free radicals can contribute to the ageing process of our body. "Antioxidants are chemicals that help in stopping or limiting these damages caused by free radicals. Our body uses antioxidants to balance free radicals which prevent them from causing damage to other cells. Antioxidants also help in boosting our immunity. Free radicals can be triggered by either natural or man-made causes. For example: ultra-violet rays from the sun or tanning beds, substances found in processed food, chemicals our body produces by turning food into energy, environmental toxins - tobacco, alcohol and pollution," says Kanchan Naikawadi, Preventive Healthcare Specialist & Managing Director, Indus Health Plus.

We can help fight and reduce these free radicals and limit the damage they cause. Quitting smoking, getting adequate sun exposure, and eating healthy can help in the cause along with antioxidants. Although our body naturally produces some antioxidants, we can also keep our requirements updated by enriching our diet with certain foods and vitamins. Some of the common antioxidants include:

Vitamin A - milk, butter, eggs, liver

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Vitamin C - fruits such as berries, oranges, kiwis, cantaloupes, papayas. Vegetables such as broccoli, bell peppers, tomatoes, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale

Vitamin E - almonds, sunflower seeds, hazelnuts, peanuts, spinach, kale, soybean, sunflower, corn, canola oils

Beta-carotene - fruits such as peaches, apricots, papayas, mangoes, cantaloupes. Vegetables such as peas, squash, carrots, broccoli, sweet potatoes

Lycopene pink/red fruits & vegetables like grapefruits, watermelon, apricots, tomato

Lutein - green leafy vegetables such as spinach, collards, kale, broccoli, peas

Selenium - pasta, bread, grains, corn, wheat, rice. Animal products, like eggs, beef, fish, turkey, chicken

Each antioxidant has a different chemical makeup and provides different health benefits. Intake of too much of one antioxidant can become harmful. Therefore, always consult a doctor before changing the diet or taking supplements.