Free radicals are, without doubt, one of the
biggest causes of aging and other health, related
issues. But with increased consumption of
antioxidants, combating free radicals will become
less gruelling and overall health can be restored.
are substances or nutrients that are found in
certain foods, which can prevent or slow the
oxidative damage to our body. Its main function is
to neutralise free radicals in the body, said to be
the cause of premature aging, heart disease, cancer,
etc. Free radicals are highly reactive by products
of chemical processes in the body, which produce
harmful oxidation that can damage the integrity of
cells and body tissues.
What Are Free Radicals?
radicals are unstable molecules, which react easily
with essential molecules of our body, including DNA,
fat and proteins. They are formed as part of our
natural metabolism and also by environmental
factors, including smoking, pesticides, pollution,
sunlight and radiation. When a free radical attacks
a molecule, the molecule becomes a free radical
itself, causing a chain reaction that can result in
the destruction of a cell. They are, without
question, one of the key players in the aging
process and most health-related diseases.
Ailments commonly linked to free radicals include
Alzheimer's disease, rheumatoid arthritis,
Parkinson's disease and other neurological
disorders. A Harvard Medical School research has
also confirmed the connection between free radicals
and macular degeneration; a type of eye condition
that can lead to blindness.
“Antioxidants are substances or nutrients in
our foods that can essentially reduce, neutralise
and, prevent the damage by free radicals.“
Aside from health reasons, free radicals can also
cause premature aging, formation of wrinkles,
thickening of the skin and other skin conditions.
"Aging is a disease," says E.R. Stadtman, a
researcher on aging at the U.S. National Institutes
of Health. "The human life span simply reflects the
level of free radical oxidative damage that
accumulates in cells. When damage accumulates, cells
can't survive properly anymore and they just give
Fight It With Antioxidants
of the most important breakthroughs in anti-aging
and disease prevention in the last century is the
discovery of antioxidants.
Antioxidants are substances or nutrients in our
foods that can essentially reduce, neutraIise and,
prevent the damage by free radicals.
Antioxidants are found in certain foods and these
include the nutrient antioxidants such as vitamins
A,C and E, and minerals like copper, zinc and
Other dietary food compounds, such as the
phytochemicals in plants and zoochemicals from
animal products, are believed to have greater
antioxidant effects than either vitamins or
These are called the non-nutrient antioxidants and
include phytochemicals, such as lycopenes in
tomatoes, and anthocyanins found in cranberries.
Antioxidants in Food
play a key role in improving overall health.
Good sources of
ALLIUM SULPHUR COMPOUNDS leek, onion and garlic
ANTHOCYANINS eggplant, grapes and berries
BETA-CAROTENE pumpkin, mangoes, apricots, carrots,
spinach, parsley CATECHINS red wine, tea COPPER
seafood, lean meat, milk, nuts CRYPTOXANTHINS red
capsicum, pumpkin, mangoes FLAVONOIDS tea, green
tea, citrus fruits, red win e, onion, apple INDOLES
cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage,
cauliflower ISOFLAVONOIDS soybeans, tofu, lentils,
peas, milk LIGNANS sesame seed, bran, whole grains,
vegetables LUTEIN dark leafy greens like spinach,
and corn LYCOPENE tomatoes, pink grapefruit,
watermelon MANGANESE seafood, lean meat, milk, nuts
POLYPHENOLS thyme, oregano SELENIUM seafood, offal,
lean meat, whole grains VITAMIN C oranges,
blackcurrants, kiwi fruit, mangoes, broccoli,
spinach, capsicum, strawberries VITAMIN E vegetable
oils (such as wheat germ oil), avocados, nuts, seeds,
whole grains ZINC seafood, lean meat, milk, nuts
ZOOCHEMICALS red meat, offal and fish, also derived
from the plants, animals eat.