Alzheimer’s, heart disease, cancer. We all know someone that has been affected by one of these afflictions. We’ve heard them mentioned at some point of our lives through a friend, a coworker or perhaps even a family member. These are illnesses directly linked to cellular oxidation and in part, due to the overload of free radicals.
But what exactly is oxidation? Surely, we’ve seen the way iron rusts when we leave it out or the variety of anti-oxidant capsules available on the market today. Oxidation in the body, however, can lead to health complications and problems in the long run.
When the process of oxidation takes over, it damages the human body by deteriorating cell membranes along with many other structures such as cellular proteins, lipids and DNA. Then, once the oxidation is metabolized, free radicals appear, stealing electrons, which they need to function properly.
These free radicals are fine in a controlled number, but if there is an overload and they get out of hand, then there is the risk of heart disease, liver disease and some cancers to develop with various degrees of severity. Oxidation can even be fuelled by many other outside factors, some we’re not initially aware of, such as pollution, stress and even sunlight. In fact, solar radiation (UVAS) play a huge part in the process, especially in the production of free radicals.
Some degenerative conditions caused by free radicals can include:
- Premature aging
- Increased heart disease
There are several solutions to neutralize the overload of free radicals that can cause us harm and make us susceptible to these illnesses.
Maintaining a healthy diet, rich with antioxidants will greatly reduce the risk of encountering many of these diseases. These are the superheroes that will come to your rescue and put out the internal fires caused by oxidation. The protective properties of antioxidants have been studied for years, and continue to be found in great sources of food we can enjoy everyday.
Check out the list below for some you may find around your kitchen:
- If you like Leeks, onions and garlic: Allium Sulphur compounds
- If eggplant, grapes and berries are more your liking : Anthocyanin
- If you enjoy a nice glass of red wine or a long cup of tea: Catechins
- If seafood, lean meat, milk and nuts are on the menu: Copper (seafood also goes for Zinc!)
- If you’re thirsty for some oranges or mangoes: Vitamin C
- If you need your leafy greens like spinach and corn: Lutein
- Soybeans and tofu contain: Isoflavonoids
- Whole grains and seeds: Lignans
- Herbs such as thyme and oregano: Polyphenols
- Vegetable oils, avocados: Vitamin E
- Watermelon, tomatoes, grapefruits: Lycopene
- Cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower: Indoles
Research still has not confirmed if the use of supplements are more or less effective than those of eating whole foods and grains from the list above, so we recommend seeking supplements that contain all nutrients instead of isolating them.
What are some of your favourite anti-oxidants? Leave us your thoughts in the comments below!