Antioxidants: Foods that Fight Free Radicals

by Kenny Parker

          Everyone has heard of antioxidants and how they are great for you. This can be shown in advertisements, food labels, TV commercials, and throughout your day pushing you to eat foods high in antioxidants. But do you know why they are important? Well here is a small overview just so you know why people always say to eat our antioxidants!

            Antioxidants are simply substances (molecules) that protect your cells against free radicals and the damage they cause to your body.  Free radicals are in essence just chemical molecules that have an unpaired electron. This unpaired electron searches to complete its electron pair so it “attacks” cells to gain that electron. Oxidation is that process of losing an electron or a hydrogen atom, which is the driving force that makes free radicals exist. While this is all good information to have, the bottom line is what does this have to do with you? Well, your cells are made up of these chemicals and are a very complex system that is always working. This oxidation occurs regardless of if we want it to or not and what we can do is understand its power and help prevent it from effecting our lives.  It has been found, in what has been studied so far, that this oxidation process and creation of free radicals is what eventually leads us to grow old, develop cancer, develop coronary heart disease, and get ill. These antioxidants, that we can absorb, help fight off this oxidation process, overall making the free radicals not able to steal away electrons. 

            So now you know what antioxidants help to prevent, now how can you get them into your diet? And will they taste good?  The list of antioxidants is as followed: Beta-carotene, Lutein, Lycopene, Selenium, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and Vitamin E. These can be found in many foods that are common and that are delicious to eat too!  The top 20 foods listed by , are as below.

Small Red Bean (dried), Wild blueberry, Red kidney bean (dried), Pinto bean, Blueberry (cultivated), Cranberry, Artichoke (cooked), Blackberry, Dried Prune, Raspberry, Strawberry, Red Delicious apple, Granny Smith apple, Pecan, Sweet cherry, Black plum, Russet potato (cooked), Black bean (dried), Plum, Gala apple…..and last but not least the extra added food that all people love; Chocolate! So the next time you eat some chocolate don’t forget, it’s not only food for your sole but for your cells too. 

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