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Antioxidants as weapons against free radicals

The cause of aging - according to experts - is the presence of free radicals. This element is a single atom that is unstable because it loses its electron pair. To stabilize himself, he also seeks a partner by stealing electrons from other molecules. In other words, free radicals attack healthy body cells.

Sources of free radicals from outside the body that can be found everyday, such as cigarette smoke, vehicle smoke, and food contaminated with pesticides. Free radicals risk damaging cells in the body and trigger serious diseases. Eating antioxidant-rich foods can reduce the risk of damage.

Bananas that have been split will change color quickly. Chicken meat that is not stored in the refrigerator will eventually become stale. This is what is called the oxidation process. Cells in the human body also experience such a natural process.

When the body uses oxygen, about 1-2 percent of cells will become damaged and turn into free radicals. Free radicals are a term for damaged cells that can cause certain negative conditions. To prevent damage, the body needs enough antioxidants.

Antioxidants vs. Free Radicals

Antioxidants are ingredients that help protect your body's cells from the harmful effects of free radicals. Free radicals can form naturally in the body and can be obtained from outside the body.

Free radicals that form in the body are chemicals that are produced from the process of digestion of food. While free radicals from outside the body are caused by cigarette smoke and radiation. Free radicals that cannot be handled by the body can trigger various chronic diseases, such as cancer and heart disease.

At this time, especially in big cities when pollution levels are higher, you are increasingly in need of antioxidants, especially if you live in an environment with higher pollution levels. The oxidative burden of the body in such environments is much higher than in places with low pollution levels.

The body cannot produce antioxidants naturally as needed. Therefore, you need to consume enough foods with high antioxidant content every day, to fight free radicals.

Types and Source of Antioxidants

There are various types of antioxidants. Each type of antioxidant works in a different way, to protect body cells from damage. Vitamin C is known to prevent damage by capturing and neutralizing free radicals, while vitamin E can break down free radical chains. Flavonoids are antioxidants found in various types of food and are the largest part of antioxidants.

Some vegetables and fruits contain higher antioxidants than others. Examples of antioxidants used by the body are vitamins C, E, and beta-carotene. All three are contained in fruits, vegetables, red, orange, yellow, and purple.

The following are some of the main sources of antioxidant foods that are recommended to be consumed regularly.

  • Fruits: apples, pears, grapes, oranges, bananas, mangoes, pineapples, papaya, strawberries.
  • Vegetables: broccoli, asparagus, tomatoes, red cabbage, red yams.
  • Nuts: pecans, walnuts, almonds.


In addition to the above ingredients, chocolate, tea and coffee without additives are also a good source of antioxidants. As much as possible the consumption of various food groups to get the best benefits of all types.

A study found that elderly women who are not used to eating fresh vegetables and fruits every day will have a 25 percent higher risk of having a heart attack within the next 10 years than those who do not. Avoid cooking vegetables too ripe so that the vitamin content is not lost. The best way to eat vegetables is to eat raw or steamed half cooked.

Natural Vegetables and Fruits Are More Recommended

Research has found that antioxidant supplements do not necessarily bring as much benefit as the antioxidants found in fresh foods. There are even studies that have found that in some cases this supplement can pose risks.

In addition to the risk of causing complications if taken together with other drugs, antioxidant supplements in high doses can cause health problems. In smokers, high levels of beta-carotene supplements run the risk of causing lung cancer. While vitamin E supplements in high doses can increase the risk of stroke and prostate cancer.

Instead of supplements, it is better to choose fresh fruits and vegetables which are the best sources of natural antioxidants. Prioritize fruits and vegetables that contain vitamins E, C, carotenoids, flavonoids, tannins, phenols and lignans. In addition to being rich in antioxidants, generally these fresh fruits and vegetables are rich in fiber and low in saturated fat.

Safe Tips for Eating Un Cooked Fruit and Vegetables

Although fruits and vegetables, especially vegetables that are not cooked are excellent sources of antioxidants, be careful when consuming them. If you eat fruit or vegetables that are not fresh, you might even get the disease. Because, germs such as Salmonella, E. coli, and Listeria which may be present in fruits and vegetables, will come into the body.

In order to get antioxidants as well as avoid the possibility of disease, here are tips for safe eating uncooked fruits and vegetables:

  • Choose fruits and vegetables that have no defects. Avoid choosing fruit that looks bruised in certain parts or blackened vegetables because that means it has started to not fresh, and can be a place for bacteria to develop.
  • Put the fruit in the refrigerator. Separate storage of fruits and vegetables from raw meat, so that bacteria from meat do not stick.
  • Wash hands before and after washing or preparing fruits and vegetables.
  • Wash fruits and vegetables under running water.
  • Peel the fruit and cut it using a separate knife and cutting board with tools to cut meat. If the knife and cutting board have just been used for meat, wash it first using soap before using it for fruit and vegetables.


Although foods rich in antioxidants are useful for counteracting free radicals, this does not mean that they can directly prevent all diseases. The benefits derived from nutritious foods can be maximized by combining a healthy lifestyle, such as regular exercise, adequate rest, and not smoking.

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Is a health and wellness enthusiast. In him free time, she loves to travel and taste different types of teas.

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