Antioxidants are the molecules that neutralize free radicals in the body and help prevent oxidative stress.
Antioxidants have freely available electrons that they can donate to the free radicals, making them no longer unstable and reactive. The body also produces antioxidants, but it’s often not enough, so we need to rely on food sources of antioxidants. Fruits and veggies, especially berries, are the primary sources of dietary antioxidants.
Dark, leafy greens such as kale and spinach, artichokes, broccoli, carrots, and potatoes are some veggies that are high in antioxidants. Some antioxidant-rich fruits, besides berries, include pears, red grapes, tomatoes, cherries, and plums. Some spices, such as cinnamon and turmeric, also contain antioxidants.
When free radicals damage vital structures in the body, such as our DNA, there are understandably risks for illness. Oxidative stress also speeds up the aging process. So, how can we prevent oxidative damage from occurring? Besides eating more antioxidant-rich foods, we can live healthier lifestyles that don’t further contribute to free radical formation.