Antioxidants are a diverse group of compounds that help to protect the body against damage from free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can cause damage to cells and contribute to the development of chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and age-related conditions.
Antioxidants work by neutralizing free radicals and preventing them from causing damage to cells. They do this by donating an electron to the free radical, which stabilizes it and stops it from damaging other molecules.
There are many different types of antioxidants, including:
Vitamin C: Found in fruits and vegetables such as oranges, strawberries, bell peppers, and kale.
Vitamin E: Found in foods such as almonds, avocado, sweet potatoes and other vegetable oils.
Beta-carotene: Found in orange and yellow fruits and vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes, and cantaloupe.
Selenium: Found in seafood, Brazil nuts, and mushrooms
Phenolic compounds: found in dark chocolate, green tea, coffee and red wine
Co-enzyme Q10 : found in fatty fish, organ meats and whole grains
The body can produce some antioxidants but they also need to be consumed through a healthy diet or supplements. Antioxidants work together, which is why it is important to consume a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats in your diet.
It's important to note that high dosages of some antioxidants, primarily from supplements, can have the opposite effect and even promote inflammation, so it's best to consume the majority of antioxidants from whole foods.