Antioxidants are vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that protect and repair cells from damage caused by free radicals. They protect your body from a number of chronic diseases, including atherosclerosis, cancer and arthritis.
Free radicals interfere with the proper function of your immune system. Ingesting antioxidants helps keep your immune system strong, making you better able to fight colds and other infections.
Two major antioxidant vitamins are vitamin C and vitamin E. Excellent dietary sources of Vitamin C are strawberries and papaya. Vitamin E is found in pumpkin seeds and tree nuts.
Some minerals also act as antioxidants, the most important being zinc and selenium. They are widely available in Brazil nuts and sunflower seeds.
Fatty acids are one of the three major kinds of lipids in the cell membrane. There are three major subgroups of fatty acids: saturated, trans or unsaturated. The first two kinds of fatty acids have a negative effect on the flexibility of the cell membrane, making it rigid and impeding its proper function.
Ubiquitous sources of trans fats that are to be avoided are prepackaged snack foods as well as fast foods, particularly anything which includes hydrogenated fats, such as non-butter spreads and shortening.
The healthiest way to protect your body from free radical and accelerated oxidation is by consuming a combination of foods rich in antioxidants daily. A diet aimed to reduce inflammation is essential in the prevention of many degenerative diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and Alzheimer’s. The first and most essential step is to substitute poor dietary choices (fast and processed foods) for fresh, local, organic produce. Aim for a wide variety of items in order to include the largest possible array of phytonutrients in your diet. In short, eat a rainbow of colors and flavors in every meal.