Antioxidants are healthy, that much you probably know. But beyond that, how much do you really understand about how they work or where to find them? If you’re like most people, the answer is “not much.” According to a recent study, 91 percent of those surveyed couldn’t say which foods had antioxidant properties.
So what are they?
Antioxidants are nutrients, vitamins or minerals that protect and mend cells in the body from damage caused by free radicals (disease-causing atoms that result from exposure to tobacco smoke, chemicals or an unhealthy diet).
How do they help us?
In the past few years, numerous studies have been released about the benefits of adding antioxidants to your diet. These include reducing the signs the aging, protecting your skin from sun damage and preventing certain diseases. Although antioxidants aren’t proven to treat any conditions, they have been shown to prevent a number of degenerative diseases including certain types of cancers, heart disease, cataracts and Alzheimer’s.
What foods have antioxidants?
Most fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as whole grains, have antioxidant properties. Some foods that contain large amounts of them include:
- Leafy greens like kale and spinach
- Red tomatoes
- Green tea
- Oranges and grapefruit
The thing to remember is that isolated antioxidants are not your ticket to a clean bill of health. So skip the supplement aisle, and include antioxidant-packed fruits and vegetables in your daily diet instead.
Photo credit: VegaTeam