do you know Free radicals? These unstable particles, which are constantly generated in our bodies, are a natural byproduct of our metabolism. However, they can become problematic when their production exceeds our ability to neutralize them, creating uncertainty Oxidative stress. This condition is linked to premature aging, various diseases, including cardiovascular disease and cancer, and can even affect our physical performance.
So what to do? This is where antioxidants come into play. These molecules have the ability to neutralize free radicals and maintain homeostasis in the body. This article aims to explain to you benefits These molecules, their food sources, and their main role in… Sports nutrition.
What are antioxidants?
Antioxidants are chemicals that protect our cells from free radicals. The latter, which our body produces continuously, is involved in oxidative stress that can cause damage to our cells.
These protective molecules work by neutralizing free radicals before they can cause damage. They are abundant in various foods, especially colorful fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, and of course some superfoods that we will cover later.
The family of antioxidants and their sources
- Vitamins C and E These vitamins are among the best known antioxidants. Found in many foods, they play a crucial role in protecting our bodies from damage caused by free radicals. Vitamin C is abundant in citrus fruits, berries, kiwi, etc. As for vitamin E, it is found in nuts, seeds, vegetable oils, and avocados.
- Polyphenols Polyphenols are another class of powerful antioxidants. Among them, flavonoids and resveratrol deserve special mention. Flavonoids are found in citrus fruits, tea, red wine, berries, and cocoa, while resveratrol is found in red wine, grapes, berries, and peanuts.
- Other important antioxidants Other important antioxidants include coenzyme Q10, selenium, and zinc. Coenzyme Q10 is found in fatty fish such as salmon and sardines, as well as meat, nuts and seeds. Selenium is found in large quantities in Brazil nuts, fish such as tuna and sardines, shellfish such as shrimp and crab, and eggs. Finally, zinc is found in shellfish such as oysters and crab, meat, legumes, pumpkin seeds, and sesame.
Health benefits of antioxidants
There is broad consensus that antioxidants have a positive effect on our health. Their work is felt in many aspects of our well-being.
- Heart health A diet rich in antioxidants can help prevent cardiovascular disease. By neutralizing free radicals, they help prevent oxidation of LDL cholesterol, which is one of the key steps in the development of atherosclerosis, a disease that can lead to heart attacks and strokes.
- aging : Antioxidants also have anti-aging effects. By protecting our cells from damage, they slow down the aging process and can help keep our skin youthful and radiant.
- immune system Finally, antioxidants play a crucial role in supporting our immune system. It helps strengthen our natural defenses and protect us from infections and diseases.
- Skin health In addition, antioxidants can contribute to healthy, glowing skin. By neutralizing free radicals, it can help prevent skin damage caused by UV rays and pollution. Vitamins C and E, for example, are essential for the production of collagen, the protein that gives skin firmness and elasticity.
- Cancer prevention : It is also important to note that antioxidants may play a role in cancer prevention. By protecting cells from DNA damage, they can help prevent mutations that can lead to cancer. However, research on this topic is complex and ongoing, and it is clear that antioxidants are only one component in cancer prevention.
Precautions and limitations of the use of antioxidants
Just like any other nutrient, the key is balance. Excessive consumption of antioxidants can actually lead to harmful effects. In addition, adding antioxidants to A Diet Already rich in antioxidants generally do not provide additional benefits.
It is important to note that not all antioxidants are created equal. Some, such as vitamin E and vitamin A, can be toxic in large amounts. In addition, quality Supplements They can vary greatly, and not all offer the same benefits. Therefore, it is best to prefer a balanced diet rich in foods that are naturally rich in antioxidants.
What to remember
Antioxidants are true allies of our health. They fight oxidative stress, slow down aging, protect our hearts, strengthen our immune system, contribute to the health of our skin, and can even help prevent cancer.
To get the most benefit from antioxidants, eat a varied and balanced diet. Colorful fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, oily fish and lean meats are excellent sources of antioxidants. If you want to take nutritional supplements, make sure of their quality and consult your doctor to make the best choice for you.
On the same topic
Definition, types, foods, benefits, effects and disease prevention