体育投注网址You may have heard a lot of talk about antioxidants.

However, few people know what they are or how they work.

体育投注网址This article tells you everything you need to know about antioxidants.

Antioxidants are molecules that fight free radicals in your body.

Free radicals are compounds that can cause harm if their levels become too high in your body. They’re linked to multiple illnesses, including diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

Your body has its own antioxidant defenses to keep free radicals in check.

However, antioxidants are also found in food, especially in fruits, vegetables, and other plant-based, whole foods. Several vitamins, such as vitamins E and C, are effective antioxidants.

Antioxidant preservatives also play a crucial role in food production by increasing shelf life.

SUMMARY Antioxidants are molecules that neutralize free radicals, unstable molecules that can harm your cells.

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For example, your immune cells use free radicals to fight infections ().

体育投注网址As a result, your body needs to maintain a certain balance of free radicals and antioxidants.

When free radicals outnumber antioxidants, it can lead to a state called oxidative stress.

Prolonged oxidative stress can damage your DNA and other important molecules in your body. Sometimes it even leads to cell death.

Damage to your DNA increases your risk of cancer, and some scientists have theorized that it plays a pivotal role in the aging process (, ).

Several lifestyle, stress, and environmental factors are known to promote excessive free radical formation and oxidative stress, including:

  • air pollution
  • cigarette smoke
  • alcohol intake
  • toxins
  • high blood sugar levels (, )
  • high intake of polyunsaturated fatty acids ()
  • radiation, including excessive sunbathing
  • bacterial, fungal, or viral infections
  • excessive intake of iron, magnesium, copper, or zinc ()
  • too much or too little oxygen in your body ()
  • intense and prolonged exercise, which causes tissue damage ()
  • excessive intake of antioxidants, such as vitamins C and E ()
  • antioxidant deficiency ()

体育投注网址Prolonged oxidative stress leads to an increased risk of negative health outcomes, such as cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancer.

SUMMARY Your body needs to maintain a certain balance between free radicals and antioxidants. When this equilibrium is disrupted, it can lead to oxidative stress.
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Berries, green tea, coffee, and dark chocolate are renowned for being good sources of antioxidants ().

According to some studies, coffee is the single biggest source of antioxidants in the Western diet, but this is partly because the average individual doesn’t eat that many antioxidant-rich foods (, ).

Meat products and fish also contain antioxidants, but to a lesser extent than fruits and vegetables (, ).

Antioxidants can increase the shelf life of both natural and processed foods. Therefore, they’re frequently used as food additives. For instance, vitamin C is often added to processed foods to act as a preservative ().

SUMMARY Your diet is an essential source of antioxidants, which are found in animal and plant foods — especially vegetables, fruits, and berries.

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Many substances that happen to be antioxidants also have other important functions.

Notable examples include curcuminoids in turmeric and oleocanthal in extra virgin olive oil. These substances function as antioxidants but also have potent anti-inflammatory activity (, ).

SUMMARY Many types of antioxidants occur in foods, including flavonoids and vitamins C and E.
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Some studies even show that high doses of antioxidants increase your risk of death (, ).

For this reason, most health professionals advise people to avoid high-dose antioxidant supplements体育投注网址, although further studies are needed before solid conclusions can be reached.

体育投注网址Eating plenty of antioxidant-rich whole food is a much better idea. Studies indicate that foods reduce oxidative damage to a greater extent than supplements.

For example, one study compared the effects of drinking blood-orange juice and sugar water, both of which contained equal amounts of vitamin C. It found that the juice had significantly greater antioxidant power ().

These results suggest that foods’ compounds work synergistically. Taking just one or two isolated nutrients won’t have the same beneficial effects.

The best strategy to ensure adequate antioxidant intake is to follow a diet rich in various vegetables and fruits, alongside other healthy habits ().

However, low-dose supplements, such as multivitamins, may be beneficial if you are deficient in certain nutrients or unable to follow a healthy diet.

SUMMARY Studies suggest that taking regular, high-dose antioxidant supplements may be harmful. If possible, get your daily dose of antioxidants from whole foods, such as fruits and vegetables.

Adequate antioxidant intake体育投注网址 is essential to a healthy diet, although some studies suggest that high-dose supplements may be harmful.

The best strategy is to get your daily dose of antioxidants from healthy plant foods, such as fruits and vegetables.