In the field of health and natural nutrition, we often hear about antioxidants.
Not only in herbalists and pharmacies but also in normal supermarkets antioxidants are present and increasingly sought after by people.
But do we really know what they are and their function?
Antioxidants are molecules with the ability to slow down the damage caused by the oxidation process, which produces free radicals. To understand the oxidation process, let's think about when we cut a fruit and leave it exposed to the air, it begins to darken after a while. Oxidation is a natural process that occurs inside the body's cells, when you breathe, digest, exercise, and more. When glucose reaches the cell, it is consumed through oxidation reactions, which take place using oxygen, thus producing these harmful free radicals that damage cells.
Antioxidants can be divided into two groups: water soluble and fat soluble.
Water-soluble antioxidants perform their functions in the fluids inside and outside the cells, while fat-soluble antioxidants act primarily in cell membranes.
Here is a list of the major antioxidants:
- Vitamin C: represents one of the most important water-soluble antioxidants ( natural Vitamin C in capsules , chewable Vitamin C , C Vitality plus )
- Vitamin E: mostly present in vegetable oils ( Vit-A-ES )
- Flavonoids: found in large quantities in plant extracts (grapes)
- Polyphenolic antioxidants such as resveratrol, contained in fruits and wine
- Carotenoids such as lycopene also contained in vegetables or sulforaphane contained in broccoli
Thanks to the action of antioxidants, we can prevent damage due to oxidation. There are many foods rich in antioxidants, here are some examples:
- Whole grains: the natural antioxidants contained in whole wheat destroy free radicals 50 times more than vitamins C and E alone
- Legumes: to be consumed well cooked and with the peel
- Seasonal vegetables and fruit: for variation, it can also be consumed in smoothies and centrifuged.
- Blue fish, such as: mackerel, sardines and cod.
- Green tea, coffee, cocoa.
- Spices, such as: ginger, turmeric and sage.
In general it is better to prefer steaming or short cooking. Another good habit is to add oil after the preparation of the dishes, in this way the properties of the oil will be preserved.