Antioxidant, type of molecule that neutralizes harmful compounds called free radicals that damage living cells, spoil food, and degrade materials. Antioxidants can take the form of enzymes in the body, vitamin supplements, or industrial additives.
Dietary sources of antioxidants
Vitamin C: also known as ascorbic acid, is a well known antioxidant that may prevent cataracts and cancers of the stomach, throat, mouth, and pancreas. It may also prevent the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, lowering the risk of heart disease. Foods that are high in vitamin C include strawberries, oranges, broccoli, and brussels sprouts.
Beta-carotene: absorbs free radicals that target molecules in the cell membrane. Studies suggest that in addition to reducing the risk of cataract, cancer, and heart attack, beta-carotene may also reduce the risk of stroke. Beta-carotene occurs naturally in orange-colored fruits and vegetables and dark green, leafy vegetables. Some of the best sources of beta-carotene are sweet potatoes, spinach, and carrots.
Vitamin E: may also protect from heart disease and cataract and may strengthen the immune system. Good sources of vitamin E include wheat germ oil and sunflower seeds.
Selenium: protects the cells against oxidation and is necessary for the metabolism of iodine. Some of the best sources of Selenium wheat seeds,oifruits, eggs, cheese, yeast
Zinc: Necessary for the synthesis of DNA, proteins, insulin and sperms. Important for the cell regeneration, growth, sexual maturity, healing process. Good sources are seeds, oilfruits, tofu, beens, vegetables, wheat germs.
They count neither among vitamines nor minerals , but they are substances to find in any nutriment on plant basis. They are not really indispensable, and if they are not in our regular eating habits, would not immediately lead to disease or dysfunctions. But they are extremely important for our body, since we have to fight these days stronger than ever against free radicals.
Until today, more than 100 different types of phytonutriments have been discovered. They are known as powerful antioxidants and protect from cancer, heart diseases, and a premature aging process. Our body reacts less strongly on infections and they reinforce the immune system.
A list of the most famous phytonutriments
* Flavonoids- to be found in : vegetables, fruits, soy bean, berries, cherries
* ferulic acid, courmaric acid, ellagic acid - to be found in : whole grain, berries, cherries, grapes, citrus fruits
* Catechins – to be found in :lentils, beans, tea, grapes, wine
* Terpens and Carotenoids – to be found in : carots, peaches, and mango, but as well in green vegetables
* Limonoids - to be found in : citrus fruits
* Organic sulfur compounds
* Allicin in garlic
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