Antioxidants are capable of slowing or preventing the oxidation of the other molecules. Oxidation reactions in some cases are crucial for life but they can also produce free radicals. The free radicals can start reactions that damage cells.
There are countless dietary antioxidant supplements sold in drugstores, grocery stores and even in department stores. If it is not prescribed or recommended by my doctor, I prefer not to buy supplements. I know it is much easier and cheaper to just buy supplements but don’t forget supplements are only supplements and can not replace real fruits and vegetables.
Most commonly known antioxidants are Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Selenium, Carotenoids, Vitamin A, lycopene, lutein, flavonoids / polyphenols, lignan…And here are were they hide – in your farmer’s market.
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant. It exists in citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruits, lemons and limes. Strawberries, grapes, apples, blackberries, kiwi, tomatoes, peppers, broccoli and even potato are all great sources of Vitamin C. Recommended dietary intake for Vitamin C (for adults over 19) for females is 75 mg/day, for males 90 mg/day.
Attention: If you are a smoker – please quit smoking but in the mean time, please be aware that you need more Vitamin C than the non smoker people. Recommended dietary intake for Vitamin C for smokers is 110 mg/day for females and 125 mg/day for males.
Provitamin A carotenoids are abundant in darkly colored fruits and vegetables. Carrots, apricots, papaya, mango, peaches, cantaloupe, watermelon, blackberries and tomato are good sources of Vitamin A.
“Vitamin E” is the collective name for a group of fat-soluble compounds with distinctive antioxidant activities. Vitamin E has been proposed for the prevention or treatment of numerous health conditions, often based on its antioxidant properties but this is a vitamin that you really need to prefer taking naturally. There are many concerns about Vitamin E supplements, particularly in high doses. Definitely consult your doctor if you plan to use Vitamin E supplements. Or be safe and eat blackberries,kiwi, mango, banana and apples. Vitamin E is found in sunflower seeds, almonds, peanuts and hazelnuts.
Lycopene is controversial. It received a lot of attention from researchers in the recent years. It is a pigment that gives vegetables and fruits, such as tomatoes, pink grapefruit and watermelon, their red color. It has been found to possess antioxidant and antiproliferative properties in animal and laboratory studies, but with human – it is still controversial. Tomato and tomato products(ketchup, spaghetti sauce, tomato juice, paste), water melon and ping grapefruits have lycopene. It does not exist in the body and it is better observed by the body, if you eat the tomato products rather than fresh tomato.
Lutein is a yellow/orange pigment found in some vegetables and fruits. A diet rich in lutein may lower your risk of developing cataracts and macular degeneration, and cardiovascular diseases. Orange and yellow colored fruits and vegetables, and green-leafy ones are good sources of lutein.
I am not a doctor. I just try to eat as healthy as possible. It is not as hard as it looks, just try to eat as much fruit as possible, each help something. Berries, tomatoes, citrus ones, plums and cherries are especially good for you.