What is an antioxidant? Antioxidants are substances that prevent damage to cells by neutralizing free radicals. Some examples include Vitamin A, C, E, carotenoids and various enzymes. So what are free radicals then? Unstable molecules that attack stable molecules and can damage or kill healthy cells. With a healthy supply of antioxidants, free radicals can be kept under control, but outside factors such as exposure to harmful chemicals including pesticides, herbicides, and pollution, cigarette smoke and radiation can lead to unusually high levels of damaging free radicals. As cells are attacked and damaged, many degenerative diseases (including cognitive deterioration, eye degeneration, cancer, and cardiovascular degeneration) can result.
One way to help combat and prevent free radical damage is to maintain a healthy intake of high antioxidant foods. Some foods that are high in antioxidants include garlic, green tea, seaweed and most fruits and vegetables. The Canada Food Guide recommends 5 to 10 servings of fruit and vegetables per day. Try to choose dark green veggies and dark reds including spinach, kale and tomatoes. Eat healthy, live healthy!