By Claudia Maghidman-
Free radicals are atoms that have an unpaired electron. These are usually formed when oxygen reacts with certain molecules. Without going to deep into the chemistry, the problem with free radicals is that they can attack our healthy cells and cause damage to them. They are one of the main reasons our body goes through the aging process. Free radicals occur naturally, but we can accelerate their effects on us by doing harmful things to our bodies, like smoking. One way to combat free radicals is through antioxidants. Antioxidants include vitamin C, vitamin E and several other substances. A healthy diet rich in fruit and vegetables should help us get the antioxidants we need, but there are a few foods that are rich with them that we should definitely add to our diets.
Berries, such as strawberries, blueberries and grapes all contain what are known as flavonoids. Flavonoids are a type of phytochemical found in mostly in fruits and vegetables. Berries in particular are great for flavonoids, because they also contain vitamin C. This forms a potent combination that can help your immune system and can help lower the risk of heart disease.
Another great food we should consider eating more of are nuts. Nuts of all varieties not only provide healthy doses of fat, protein and carbs, but depending on the type can have different antioxidants. In particular, an antioxidant called resveratroll is present in peanuts and walnuts. Resveratrol is a potent antioxidant that promising research has shown that it can help prevent several diseases like Alzheimer’s and diabetes.
Dark green vegetables are an excellent source of both vitamin C and E. Veggies like broccoli, kale and spinach contain an antioxidant called lutein, which is likely helpful for things like macular degeneration and cataracts. They also contain kaempferol, which is an antioxidant that helps prevent some forms of cancer.
Of course, too much of a good thing can become bad. That is why it is important that we have a proper diet. Too much vitamin E, for example, can cause mess with our blood’s ability to clot. So instead of going out and buying a bunch of supplements, it is much better to simply eat a balanced diet that contains plenty of fruits and vegetables.