Antioxidants are certain types of substances which are very efficient in preventing oxidation of all other sorts of substances. Certain oxidation processes are of utmost importance when it comes to maintaining several life processes, but such important reactions can also be held responsible for the production of free radicals.
Free radicals are by-products of oxidation reactions and they are highly reactive, so they can be responsible for the damage caused to the cells of the human body. Free radicals may also enter the body from external environment. Various antioxidants produced by the body such as catalase, superoxide dismutase and glutathione are very efficient in getting rid of those harmful free radicals. It is very important to ingest plenty of antioxidant rich foods, because they are very efficient in fighting off the free radicals and reducing the amount and severity of damage they cause inside the human body.
Foods Rich with Antioxidants
The best natural antioxidants include manganese, selenium, quercetin, uric acid, oxalic acid, citric acid, phenolic acids, anthocyanins, isoflavones, flavanones, flavones, flavonoids, zeaxanthin, lutein, lycopene, beta carotene, alpha carotene, catalase, superoxide dismutase, glutathione, melatonin, vitamin E, vitamin C and vitamin A.
Fresh/Dried Fruits and Vegetables
Vegetables are among the best sources of antioxidants. Vegetables rich in antioxidants include cucumbers, artichoke, kale, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, beetroot, asparagus, parsley, garlic, red peppers, onion, sweet potato, pumpkin, spinach, green peppers, squash, tomatoes, carrots and broccoli. Fruits are also excellent sources of antioxidants, both in their fresh and dried forms. The best fruit sources of antioxidants include pears, lemon, watermelons, cantaloupe, peaches, mangoes, apples, plums, apricots, raisins, prunes, dates, grapefruit, oranges, cherries, grapes, pineapples, acai berries, goji berries, kiwi fruit, cranberries, billberries, black currant, raspberries, strawberries, blueberries and blackberries.
Legumes and Whole Grains
Besides fresh fruits and vegetables, and dried fruits of course, there are also certain other excellent sources of antioxidants. Those include different types of legumes and whole grains. When it comes to supplying antioxidants, the best legume and whole grain sources include split peas, chickpeas, lentils, red kidney beans, pinto beans, soybeans, small red beans, wheat germ, millets, corn, barley and oats.
Other Excellent Sources of Antioxidants
Besides fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains, there are also certain other excellent sources of antioxidants, and those food items include shellfish, fish, turkey, chicken, eggs, red meat, fish liver oil, flaxseed, sunflower seeds, coffee, various types of tea, cocoa, pistachios, nuts, macadamia nuts, cashews, almonds, pecans, hazelnuts, peanuts, walnuts, peppermint, thyme, sage, coriander, basil, mustard seeds, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, oregano, turmeric, cumin and many others.