Have you heard about antioxidants? They are everywhere! In facial creams, sunscreen products. Did you know that you could also find them elsewhere in their natural form? But what are they used for? Promised explanations will be shorter than post on hair growth 😉
What are they?
They are components derived from plants that protect our cells from the damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are chemical molecules produced by the body in small quantities via oxidation – which occurs when the body decomposes food, or is exposed to certain drugs or in contact with toxins such as cigarette smoke, pollution and the radiation. They can also be produced when exposed to the sun.
In small amounts free radicals are not harmful. They are just the result of oxidation which is an essential phenomenon to produce the energy our body needs to live. It is the accumulation of these free radicals that is harmful if you do not have enough antioxidants in the body to handle this overflow. This accumulation also called oxidative stress plays a major role in the development of chronic and degenerative diseases such as cancer, autoimmune disorders, premature old age, cataracts, arthritic rheumatism, cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases.
Plants, fruits and vegetables (fruits, vegetables and their juices, seeds, nuts, cereals, herbs and spices and even chocolate) are the best sources although antioxidants can be found in meat, seafood and dairy products. As a bonus, antioxidants are rich in fiber, low in saturated fat and cholesterol and a good source of vitamins and minerals.
Antioxidants are also effective when applied to the skin and are as important to the skin, eyes and hair as they are to other body organs and systems, which is why they can be found in cosmetics and sunscreens. Often one sees vitamin A, C or E, zinc in the composition of facial creams and antioxidant serums.
In which food I could find them?
Add to your shopping list these fruits and vegetables to boost your production of antioxidants:
- Pecan nuts
- Red beans
- White beans
There are dozens of antioxidants and they come in different forms and names. Some are vitamins and minerals that you should know, others are lesser known. Below is a list of the 10 most common antioxidants, and where they can be found in nature.
1. The allium
They are found in leeks, onions and garlic
2. Beta carotene
Pumpkins, mangoes, apricots, carrots, spinach, parsley
red wine and tea
Tea, dark chocolate, red wine, citrus fruits, onion, apples, pomegranate
Tomatoes, grapefruit, watermelon
6. Vitamin C
Oranges, red fruits, kiwi, mangoes, broccoli, spinach, peppers
7. Vitamin E
Vegetable oils, nuts, avocados, seeds, whole grains
8. Beta – Cryptoxanthin
Red peppers, pumpkins and squash, mangoes
Eggplants, grapes, red fruits