When researching healthy foods to eat, you’ve likely heard that certain foods are high in antioxidants… but what does that really mean?
Let’s break it down.
What are antioxidants? Antioxidants are compounds that fight harmful, free radicals in your body which are produced in response to normal body processes. They’re a powerful first line of defense against damage to your cells from aging, stress, and inflammation, They also contain cancer-fighting properties and benefits the immune system overall.
What do antioxidants do?
Antioxidants help minimalize the damage when there’s an overabundance of free radicals that can slowly damage healthy cells. Your body produces some antioxidants and you get others from colorful foods and vitamins.
Antioxidant Vitamins: This can be broken down into two: flavonoids and carotenoids.
- Flavonoids are polyphenol pigment compounds that are present in most flowering plants. They offer doubly beneficial because they improve vitamin C’s antioxidant capabilities.
- Carotenoids are fat-soluble vitamins and many sources say that one particular carotenoid, beta carotene, is the same as Vitamin A, but that’s not quite true. Part of it converts to Vitamin A but not all of it. Beta carotene is the most studied but other popular ones include lutein, zeaxanthin, and lycopene. Foods high in carotenoids include apricots, beef liver, beets, broccoli, salmon, mango, and more.