Antioxidants : why are they so important ?

Vitamins A, C and E are antioxidants. Antioxidants are essential to our health. They protect our body from free radicals (aggressive particles) and therefore decrease the risk of appearance of many diseases.

WHAT IS IT ?

Antioxidants bring together vitamins, trace elements and micronutrients. They are present in our diet. The role of its molecules is the protection of the body’s cells against free radicals.
Free radicals are extremely aggressive particles, made permanently by the body from oxygen. Free radicals are responsible for the aging of our cells.

WHAT IS THEIR ROLE ?

External factors such as pollution, stress, tobacco, UV rays from the sun lead to an increase in the production of free radicals.
When the amount of free radicals in the body is higher than that of antioxidants, it is said that the body is exposed to oxidative stress.

This oxidative stress causes damage to the DNA of the cells. In the long term, it promotes premature aging of the skin, the appearance of cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, macular degeneration and cataract.

The role of antioxidants is the neutralization of excess free radicals in the body to fight against oxidative stress.

ANTIOXIDANTS BENEFITS :

– Decrease the amount of bad cholesterol in the blood;
– Reduce risk of cardiovascular disease;
– Reduce risk of cancer;
– Protection against certain ocular diseases (macular degeneration and cataract);
– Slow aging of the skin.

FOODS HIGH IN ANTIOXIDANTS :

Antioxidants are found in many foods but the main source is fruits and vegetables.

Vitamin C : berries, citrus fruits (lemons, grapefruit, oranges), kiwis, melons, broccoli, green leafy vegetables …

Vitamin E : vegetable oils, oleaginous fruits (almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts), cereals …

Carotenoids (provitamin A) :
– Beta-carotene : carrots, parsley, apricots, peppers, oranges, cabbage, spinach …
– Lutein : spinach, green cabbage, red peppers, broccoli, lettuce, watercress, egg yolks …
– Lycopenes : tomatoes, melons, watermelons …

Polyphenols :
– Flavonoids : tea, red wine, vegetables, fruits …
– Tannins : tea, grapes, wine, cocoa, coffee …
– Anthocyanins : blueberries, black currants, currants, radishes, eggplants …

In conclusion, to stay healthy feel free to add fruits and vegetables to your diet to get enough antioxidants !

Article written by Amélie Vincent, dietitian

Leave a Reply