What antioxidants neutralize free radicals?

Heather Campbell
 min read

What antioxidants neutralize free radicals?

What antioxidants neutralize free radicals?Antioxidants play a vital role in our mental and physical well-being.

Here we explain why you should eat more foods that contain vitamins A, B, C, E and certain minerals that are full of antioxidants.

The negative role of free radicals in cell modification has been known for a long time.

What antioxidants neutralize free radicals? Introduction

Free radicals are aggressive, they oxidize and literally rust all our cells.

They are fragments of molecules or even whole ones formed of atoms.

These themselves constituted of a nucleus surrounded by electrons.

In molecules, some electrons tend to go in even numbers.

In free radicals, their number is odd which implies the existence of a single electron.

These particularly unstable and uncoupled electrons are looking for their soul mate.

To find it, they attack and destroy the balance of a normal molecule, which in turn will give rise to a free radical with equally aggressive chemical properties.

This process is the redox phenomenon, a combination of oxidation and reduction reactions happening at the same time.

Oxidation is a chemical process where a reactant loses electrons, while another reactant gains these electrons in the chemical process of reduction.

Free radicals are the cause of many diseases

Although they themselves have a short life, much less than a second, free radicals are extremely dangerous.

We produce about 4.5 pounds a year and we get them when we breathe because about 5% of oxygen is transformed into free radicals.

We absorb even more, with polluted air, with radiation from the sun and ultraviolet rays.

It also happens because of exposure to polluting agents, with ingested or inhaled toxins (poorly preserved, oxidized, processed food products, etc.), tobacco, etc.

Each of our cells is attacked several hundred times a day.

Fortunately, the body has defensive substances against these attacks: antioxidants.

Antioxidants are the defense against free radicals

Antioxidants are, in our body, enzymes present in the cell at the membrane and cytoplasm level.

These enzymes, glutathione peroxidase or superoxide dismutase, contain selenium, copper, zinc, manganese, vitamins E, C, beta-carotene, etc.

Their mission is to prevent or repair the damage caused by free radicals.

Other antioxidants come from our diet when it is well chosen and balanced.

The major antioxidants are: vitamins A (beta-carotene), C, E, and certain metals (selenium, iron, zinc).

Add to the list polyphenols, flavonoids, carotenoids, anthocyanins and tannins.

Research shows that our defense system is supposed to consistently maintain our level of protection against free radicals.

Unfortunately, this is not always the case.

Stress, fatigue, overwork , all promote free radicals.

The same when the two brains lose harmony, with age (menopause, andropause, etc.), the body lacks antioxidants, leaving the field open to these dreaded free radicals.

The immune system can be weakened, opening the door to disease and accelerated aging.

All antioxidants participate in the defense action against cardiovascular, microbial and tumor diseases and against aging.

The main source of antioxidants are fruits and vegetables.

Over the counter antioxidants have much higher doses than the nutritional dose and can be detrimental.

That is why we suggest you have a healthy balanced diet.

Antioxidant plant vitamins

Vitamin A

Vitamin A fights against oxidation, aging, risks of infection.

This vitamin is also involved in the renewal of the skin, hair and nails.

Other functions:

The body converts carotene, a pigment found in green, yellow and red fruits and vegetables, into provitamin A or beta-carotene.

Foods that contain vitamin A:

  • Fruits: peach, mango, apricot, melon, watermelon, banana, etc.
  • Yellow or red vegetables: bell pepper, carrot, pumpkin, tomato, potato, soybean, onion, shallot, garlic, etc.
  • Aromatic herbs: parsley, coriander, chives, basil, chervil, etc.
  • Green vegetables: spinach, green beans, broccoli, peas, cabbage, zucchini, lettuce, dandelion, etc.

Vitamins B1, B5 and B6

Functions:

  • Skin protection.
  • Necessary for the nervous system to provide energy against stress, depression and insomnia.
  • Ensures the proper assimilation of carbohydrates and the transformation of fats into energy.

Foods that contain B vitamins:

  • Whole grains: beer yeast, wheat germ.
  • Dry vegetables.

Vitamin C

Functions:

  • Anti-infectious and antiviral
  • Stimulates cell regeneration
  • Vitamin C promotes longevity and strengthens the immune system
  • Necessary for the skin, bones, teeth

Vitamin C is a major antioxidant that stops free radical chain reactions.

The action of the vitamin C is increased by the presence of the vitamin E and the beta-carotene.

Foods that contain vitamin C:

  • Vegetables: broccoli, cabbage, tomato, carrot, watercress, radish, all salads, bell pepper, etc.
  • Aromatic herbs.
  • Fruits: grapefruit, orange, tangerine, kiwi, grape, currant, black currant, blueberry, banana, apple, strawberry, lemon, pear, cherry, raspberry, etc.

Vitamin E

Functions:

  • Vitamin E is the friend of vitamin C and preserves vitamin A (beta-carotene).
  • Vitamin E strengthens the immune system.
  • Necessary for the constitution and protection of cell membranes.
  • Protects against cardiovascular diseases.
  • Vitamin E prevents aging.

Foods that contain vitamin E:

  • Oil seeds: walnut, hazelnut, almond, peanut, etc.
  • Vegetable oils such as olive, sunflower, wheat germ, peanut, soybean.
  • Vegetables and fruits.

Antioxidant trace elements

Functions:

  • Strengthen the immune system
  • Prevent aging
  • Strengthen the cardiovascular system

Selenium

It acts in association with vitamins A and C.

Foods that contain selenium:

  • Oil seeds: walnut, hazelnut, almond, etc.
  • Cereals: wheat germ, brewer’s yeast, etc.
  • Vegetables: broccoli, garlic, onion, cabbage, etc.

Zinc

Functions:

  • Essential to the composition of its many enzymes.
  • Necessary for the metabolism of digestion.
  • Acts on mood.
  • Activates the sexual glands.
  • Accelerates the healing of the skin.
  • Acts on juvenile acne.
  • Increases the action of vitamins A and B.

Foods that contain zinc:

  • Algae
  • Wholemeal bread
  • Meat
  • Vegetables: beans, lentils, peas, cabbage, watercress, broccoli, spinach, carrots, beets, onions, shallots, garlic, etc.
  • Poultry
  • Whole grains
  • Fish
  • Seafood

What antioxidants neutralize free radicals? Conclusion

We have explained why you should eat more foods that contain vitamins A, B, C, E and minerals that are full of antioxidants.

Antioxidants are sensitive to light, heat and humidity.

They disappear when cooking for too long or when the products are cooked in a large volume of water.

When a fruit or vegetable is peeled, it oxidizes in ten minutes so eat it quickly

Avoid preparing raw vegetables, salads, fruit salads, fruit juices and vegetable juices in advance.

And don’t forget that the enemies of antioxidants are attacked by tobacco and alcohol.

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About Heather Campbell

As a nutritionist, my field of specialization is science-based nutritional advice but more importantly, it is my goal to share capturing and inspiring stories, examples and solutions which can help plus-size individuals overcome their specific difficulties. Read More