What is an Antioxidant?

Have you ever wondered what exactly an antioxidant was and why are they so important?  Antioxidants are equivalent to your own personal army.  They scout around your body, looking for anything suspicious.  When they find something dangerous, like a cancerous growth, they ride into battle and hope to win the fight.  To win these fights, they need supplies.  Any time you eat or drink foods with antioxidant properties, you are sending help to your army of antioxidants.

Some antioxidants are produced within our bodies, while others are found in foods.  Foods rich in antioxidants are your fruits and vegetables.  It is believed that antioxidants give plants their color, so choose those fruits and vegetables with a deep, dark, rich color.  Cooking destroys part of the power of the antioxidants, so whenever possible, eat your fruit and vegetables raw.

The following is a list of different kinds of antioxidants and foods that are high in each.

• Allium sulphur compounds: Leeks, onions, garlic
• Anthocyanins: Eggplant, grapes, berries
• Beta carotene: Pumpkin, mangoes, apricots, carrots, spinach, parsley
• Catechins: Red wine, tea
• Copper: Seafood, lean meat, milk, nuts, legumes
• Cryptoxanthins: Red peppers, pumpkin, mangoes
• Flavonoids: Tea, green tea, red wine, citrus fruits, onion, apples
• Indoles: Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower
• Lignans: Sesame seeds, bran, whole grains, vegetables
• Lutein: Corn, leafy greens (such as spinach)
• Lycopene: Tomatoes, pink grapefruit, watermelon
• Manganese: Seafood, lean meat, milk, nuts
• Polyphenols: Thyme, oregano
• Selenium: Seafood, offal, lean meat, whole grains
• Vitamin C: Oranges, berries, kiwi fruit, mangoes, broccoli, spinach, peppers
• Vitamin E: Vegetable oils, nuts, avocados, seeds, whole grains
• Zinc: Seafood, lean meat, milk, nuts
• Zoochemicals: Red meat, offal, fish

The textbook definition of antioxidants is:  Antioxidants are anti-oxidation agents.  They neutralize dangerous oxidants by binding together with them, minimizing their destructive power.  They also repair cell damage caused by the rampaging enemy army of free radicals.

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Also published on Medium.

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