Natural Antioxidants in Foods
Free radicals are unstable molecules that attack other cells in your body and may contribute to age-related degenerative damage. Food additives Antioxidants help neutralize free radicals and may help preserve healthy cells in body tissues. Most fruits and vegetables contain natural antioxidants.
Beta-carotene is a natural antioxidant that your body can use to synthesize retinol and retinoic acid or vitamin A. Beta-carotene enhances your immune system functions and promotes healthy reproductive mechanisms in your body. Foods with bright pigments such as sweet potatoes, carrots and spinach are rich sources of beta carotene. Cantaloupe contains beta-carotene.
Lutein is a natural antioxidant that promotes healthy skin and eyes. The Lutein Info website suggests that this antioxidant may reduce the incidence of macular degeneration. Lutein is an antioxidant that contributes to pigments in dark leafy vegetables like spinach. Egg yolk also contains lutein. Vegetables like collards and turnip greens are rich sources of lutein.
Lycopene is a natural antioxidant in foods, which can protect cells against DNA damage and lipid peroxidation. The Phytochemicals website suggests that lycopene may suppress the production of cells that contribute to arteriosclerosis. Lycopene combats toxins such as aflatoxin, cyclosporine and cadmium. Foods that provide a natural source of lycopene include guava and watermelon. Tomatoes are a rich source of lycopene.
Vitamin C is a water-soluble antioxidant that promotes healthy growth and development. Vitamin C contributes to healthy bones and tissues throughout your body. Vitamin C contributes to collagen formation. Vitamin C helps your body heal wounds. Your body does not produce vitamin C, so you must get vitamin C from food. Vitamin C occurs in most fruits and vegetables. Citrus fruits, strawberries and tomatoes tend to have high amounts of vitamin C.
Vitamin E is a natural antioxidant (Foodchem) that is also known as tocopherol. Vitamin E supports a healthy immune system and metabolic processes. Conditions like liver diseases and cystic fibrosis may improve with vitamin E. Vegetable oils and margarine contain vitamin E. Most leafy green vegetables have vitamin E. Nuts and seeds usually contain vitamin E.