Antioxidants protect our body from free radicals. They are therefore also referred to as radical scavengers. Vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals – all of these foods are also antioxidants.
These protect our cells and prevent oxidative stress, which can lead to cell damage. According to experts, oxidative stress from free radicals is the main cause of the aging process and at the same time they can promote the development of many diseases. There is almost no disease that is not related to free radical imbalance.
What are free radicals?
Free radicals are oxygen compounds that are formed during certain metabolic processes. They are molecules that contain only one electron. These are constantly on the lookout for the missing electron and snatch the required electrons from other molecular compounds in the body and also convert them into free radicals. Antioxidants are molecules that donate an electron and can thus neutralize the free radicals.
However, as soon as too many free radicals are formed, these can disrupt important processes in the metabolism and attack important proteins, cell walls or even the genetic material (DNS). The immune system is weakened and can damage the organism in the long term. The resulting oxidative stress can be detected in the blood.
However, free radicals also fulfill vital tasks and serve as a defense mechanism in the fight against viruses and bacteria.
What are the causes for the formation of free radicals?
- an unhealthy diet (fatty foods, soft drinks, sweets)
- excessive UV radiation
- extreme physical stress (e.g. through high-performance sport)
- Environmental influences and pollutants (e.g. environmental pollution, heavy metals)
- Taking medication
Above all, antioxidants must be ingested through food. Our body can produce some of its own antioxidants in the form of enzymes. However, this alone is often not enough. A balanced and healthy diet and a healthy lifestyle can reduce free radicals in the body.
Which foods contain many antioxidants?
The best known antioxidants are vitamins . Vitamin C, E and A, beta-carotene, zinc, selenium, copper and magnesium in particular have antioxidant effects in the body.
There are foods that are particularly rich in antioxidants:
- Fruit (blueberries, apple, citrus fruits, avocado)
- Vegetables (tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, corn, onions, broccoli, kale, garlic, cucumber, asparagus)
- Herbs (basil, Rosemary, mint)
- Whole grain products
- Green tea, coffee & raw cocoa
- High quality fats (fish, nuts, grapeseed oil, linseed)