In our body, metabolism and respiration are processes that never stop. Through them, energy is generated, and the demand for this energy to keep us alive is constant. These processes lead to the production of free radicals, which in turn must be neutralized by our endogenous antioxidant system. Free radicals multiply very quickly, and once an antioxidant molecule neutralizes a free radical, the antioxidant loses its neutralizing capacity. On the other hand, it is important to remember that our antioxidant system might be sufficient if we only took into account the need to neutralize the free radicals generated by our physiological processes. However, it also has to deal with those generated by exogenous factors such as pollution, UV rays, and bad habits like smoking or alcohol.
Considering that the human body needs more antioxidants than it can produce, a continuous supply of antioxidants should be guaranteed to our body to help protect it against cell damage caused by oxidative stress and free radicals. This is where the antioxidant foods we consume play a fundamental role.
How to increase Antioxidant foods in the Diet
The natural way to increase the body's antioxidants is to eat foods rich in antioxidants. These essential vitamins and minerals are found only in whole, natural foods that have undergone little or no processing. The following list represents the antioxidants and some of the foods that contain them:
Vitamin C: Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin and the body's first line of defense against diseases. Since this vitamin cannot be stored by the body, it is important to consume a diet that includes vitamin C. Dietary sources of this antioxidant are citrus fruits, green leafy vegetables, strawberries, green peppers, broccoli, cabbage, and potatoes.
Vitamin E: Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin that helps protect the body's largest organ, the skin. Sources of this vitamin are whole grains, nuts and seeds, wheat germ, green leafy vegetables, and fish liver oil.
Betacarotene: Among the 600 carotenoid antioxidants described, betacarotene, due to its incredible ability to protect vegetables and fruits from UV rays and because it offers the same protective values for humans, has been the most studied. Betacarotene can be found in green, yellow, and dark orange fruits and vegetables, including kale, cabbage, broccoli, carrots, pumpkins, tomatoes, melon, apricots, and peaches.
Selenium: Selenium is a powerful antioxidant. The best dietary sources of selenium include fish, seafood, eggs, chicken, garlic, grains, and red meats. Certain vegetables can also be a source of selenium, but only if they have been grown in selenium-rich soils.
Glutathione: Glutathione is an essential antioxidant that helps protect cells from free radicals and other toxins. It is naturally produced in the body through the synthesis of cysteine, glycine, and glutamic acid. Considering its beneficial effects, it is also important to eat foods high in this antioxidant. These foods include asparagus, avocado, spinach, zucchini, broccoli, watermelon, strawberries, melon, peaches, and pumpkin.
Peroxidase: Peroxidase is an enzyme antioxidant that is naturally produced in plants and milk. It can be found in foods such as mangoes, soybeans, turnips, and horseradish root.
Flavonoids: Flavonoids are a group that includes more than 4,000 different compounds, but they are most effective when consumed together. They help promote antioxidant activity throughout the body, contributing to cell health and tissue renewal. When taken with vitamin C, flavonoids help reduce oxidative stress and the effects of aging. Important sources of flavonoids include blueberries, beets, grapes (red or black), oranges, lemons, strawberries, green tea, grapefruit, kale, and pomegranate.
Polyphenolic Antioxidants: Polyphenolic antioxidants have been shown to be effective in helping combat oxidative stress. They are not naturally produced by our body. Therefore, the only way to get these antioxidants is to eat foods rich in phytonutrients, such as pomegranate, blackberries, blueberries, cherries, raspberries, strawberries, apples, melon, grapes, pears, broccoli, cabbage, celery, onion, green tea, bee pollen, olive oil, whole grains, and chocolate.
Punicic Acid (Omega 5): It is described as one of the most potent antioxidants. Unlike the previous ones, its sources are less numerous, mainly found in the pomegranate fruit (Punica Granatum).
Antioxidant Supplements: In current times, the hectic daily life unfortunately does not allow us to include in our diet the quantity and quality we would require considering that we have an adequate intake of antioxidants. Fortunately, to correct this situation, there are antioxidant supplements. It is important that when choosing our protector against the harmful effects of oxidative stress, we select a potent antioxidant (a single molecule capable of neutralizing several free radicals) and that its characteristics allow it to reach all organs and tissues of the body. GranaGard® is the supplement that meets these conditions. GranaGard® is one of the best antioxidants for cardiovascular health, digestive health, immune system, your muscle, skin, and more. Thanks to its nanoformulated Omega 5, and unlike other antioxidant supplements, it also protects the brain.