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Antioxidants VS Free Radicals - the Good VS the Bad

‘Antioxidants’ and ‘free radicals’ – they’re terms that are thrown around in the media a lot these days, but what do they actually mean? Think of antioxidants as the good guys and free radicals as the baddies. Antioxidants protect our cells against the damage that free radicals cause, which can lead to various health conditions and diseases. So how do you increase your intake of antioxidants?

Sources of Antioxidants

Researchers haven’t been able to define just how many antioxidants exist, but there are lots. One class of antioxidants – flavonoids, have over 4000 types alone! Here are some common antioxidants that we know about, and foods that they’re commonly found in:

  • Vitamin C – oranges, kiwifruit, mangoes, broccoli, spinach, strawberries

  • Vitamin E – avocados, nuts, seeds, wholegrains

  • Beta carotene – carrots, pumpkin, mangoes, apricots

  • Flavanoids – tea, citrus fruits, onion, apples

  • Zinc – seafood, lean meat, milk, nuts

  • Polyphenols – thyme, oregano

Sources of Free Radicals

Various factors in our modern world expose us to a range of free radicals. They include:

  • Smoking

  • Alcohol

  • Sugars

  • Unhealthy fats

  • Pesticides

  • Exhaust fumes

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