Antioxidants are substances that scavenge free radicals produced by cells as the body processes food and as a reaction to environmental pressure and changes.
Free radicals are unstable molecules. They are potentially harmful. When they accumulate, they may cause oxidative stress which damages important cell structures and may lead to chronic diseases.
Antioxidants are produced by the body and can also be found in food.
Antioxidants produced by the body are called endogenous antioxidants. Those found outside the body, in food are called exogenous antioxidants.
Examples of antioxidants include lycopene, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, Manganese, beta- carotene. There are many others and each performs a different function, that is why we keep screaming ‘eat a balanced diet’.
There are several food sources of antioxidants, Some of these can be destroyed while cooking, cooking also makes some others readily available for the body to utilize. An example is tomatoes which contain lycopene, cooking makes the antioxidant, lycopene available for the body to use.
Raspberries, grapes, purple cabbage, strawberries are excellent sources of antioxidants. We will take you on the journey of the antioxidants rich food you can always have access to, they are affordable and nutritious as well.
Vegetables: vegetables contain vitamin C, vitamin E, Beta- Carotene.
Beans: Kidney beans and black beans are rich in antioxidants. They have impressive health benefits.
Tumeric: Tumeric is a spice which is a good source of flavonoids and ascorbic acids. These are other types of antioxidants. Use tumeric, ginger, cinnamon to spice up and colour your food. Onions are also rich in flavonoids.
Fruits: Most fruits contain vitamin C. Pumpkins, carrots, mangoes are rich in Beta-carotene. We understand that eating certain fruits in Nigeria is seasonal. When it is not in season, it is imported and expensive. Do well to eat whatever fruit is available.
Nuts: Nuts are rich in vitamin E, zinc, manganese and copper.
The best sources of antioxidants are plant-based foods.