There are many factors that influence the occurrence of free radicals in the body. The amount of free radicals is increased by smoking, being in a polluted environment, drinking alcohol or taking excessive medication. An unhealthy lifestyle and lack of exercise also play an important role.
How can we reverse these processes? The magic lies in antioxidants and their influence.
Antioxidants are substances that fight free radicals, thereby limiting their activity. Our body can produce them on its own, but in insufficient quantities. It is therefore important to obtain them from the diet.
Free radicals damage the structure and function of cells, tissues and organs. They also affect premature ageing, cause diabetes, vascular disease, immune system disorders and, last but not least, contribute to the development of dementia and cancer. Free radicals can alter the permeability of cell membranes and negatively affect many processes in the body.
Fortunately, antioxidants are great fighters and can correct most of what free radicals cause. Antioxidants are natural in origin and have the ability to prevent the unwanted effects of free radicals or destroy them completely.
Antioxidants can inhibit the activity of free radicals, thus limiting the oxidation process. Oxidation causes a chemical reaction in the body that causes us to age, so this is a process we would prefer to avoid.
As we age, the amount of antioxidants decreases, thus reducing the protection of cells from free radicals. It is therefore important to take them regularly in the diet to support their fight against the negative impact of free radicals.
Antioxidants are also used in the food industry, you may come across them in some foods. Their function is to prolong shelf life and they can also prevent the rancidity of fats.
Antioxidants are divided into natural and synthetic, natural ones are mainly found in foods of plant origin and synthetic ones are artificially produced.
Everyone should include foods rich in antioxidants in their diet, especially in their natural form, as synthetic ones are less effective.
The most important antioxidants include vitamins, carotenoids, flavonoids, tannins, zinc, selenium, coenzyme Q10, phenols and some amino acids. These helpers protect the body from free radicals.
Now we will take a closer look at two of the most important antioxidants that should definitely not be missing from your diet.
Resveratrol is one of the most powerful natural antioxidants, found in both white and blue grapes. Blue grapes have a higher content of this substance, and you can even find it in red wine.
Other foods where you can find resveratrol include berries, especially blueberries, as well as peanuts and plants native to the Far East, such as Japanese knotweed.
Resveratrol acts as a fountain of youth in the body. It can lower blood pressure, relieve allergic reactions, strengthen the immune system and also control body weight.
We are all familiar with vitamin C, but not everyone knows that our bodies cannot make this vitamin on their own. Therefore, it is very important to supplement it in the form of food or supplements.
Vitamin C belongs to the category of vitamins that are soluble in water. It can be found in many fruits such as oranges, strawberries and kiwis. In vegetables, it is found abundantly in, for example, peppers, broccoli or spinach.
It is important to increase the amount of this vitamin during flu season or if we have problems with blood vessels.
Vitamin C improves the absorption of iron, especially from plant foods, so it should be taken regularly by people who do not eat meat.
It strengthens immunity and speeds up wound healing. Its other effects include the formation of collagen and helps in the prevention of gout. Vitamin C reduces the risk of heart disease to some extent.
Be sure to consume plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, 5 servings a day is recommended. The high content of antioxidants has a positive effect on our health, it is a kind of prevention against various diseases and, in addition, it can help us slow down the aging process.
Give preference to natural antioxidants, but if your diet is not balanced or you feel you are not eating enough fresh fruit and vegetables, include synthetic vitamins and supplements in your diet.