Antioxidants

antioxidant_sources

Antioxidants

If you are keen about what you eat, it is probably because you value the effect specific foods have on the body. Just about every food will have an effect on our body and one of the very important foods are antioxidant foods. These foods have a direct impact on our cells and the human body is made up of millions of cells.

What are antioxidants?

Well if you focus on the 2 parts of this word, it will become much easier to understand what they are. The first part of the word is “Anti” which means it works against, and then oxidants. So antioxidants work against oxidants. Oxidants are free radicals that are responsible for damage to cells. You can find free radicals in the body or within the environment and they are responsible for a number of illnesses that we suffer. So antioxidants fight against these free radicals. Antioxidants are mainly made up of special kind of proteins.

Types of antioxidants

antioxidant_sourcesPrimarily there are 3 types of antioxidants and these are enzymes, phytochemicals, and vitamins. The most vital of these are those found in plants as a result of their exposure to sunlight. Let us take a closer look at each of these 3 types of antioxidants. Enzymes: These are found in proteins that we normally take in which combine with the minerals in the body as well as in our diet. The human body is able to digest these proteins and minerals in order to produce the antioxidants that the body needs like glutathione peroxidase, catalases , and superoxide dismutase. For good quality enzyme antioxidant, minerals like zinc, iron and magnesium and copper are needed along with god quality protein. Vitamins: These are not produced naturally in the body, they are sourced from daily intake especially of plant diets that will provide vitamin C, A, E as well as beta-carotene and folic acid . if you are familiar with the effects of these vitamins on the body then you would easily identify what the vitamin antioxidants do in the body. For instance, vitamin C is important in development of resistance to infection as well as protecting the skin from harmful sun rays while vitamin E is responsible for healthy blood vessels and folic acid is essential for pregnant women to ensure a healthy fetus. Beta carotene is known for keeping the eyes healthy among other uses. Phytochemicals: These occur naturally in plants and are known to give plants their natural immunity from oxidants. Plants though are not the only ones who enjoy this protection as humans can also eat the plants and develop similar protection from free radicals.

Phytochemical antioxidants are present in fruits, vegetables, and most whole foods.