Antioxidants are molecules that fight the destruction of cells in the body under the influence of various factors. One of them is oxidation by free radicals. These compounds have an unstable structure - a free electron. To restore their own balance, they seek to "pinch off" the required part of healthy cells and damage them.
Oxidative processes occur continuously in the body. Radicals play an important role in human life, for example, immune cells use free radicals to fight infections. The danger is an excessively high level of such substances, which can provoke diabetes, heart disease, and cause cancer. Antioxidants neutralize "extra" free radicals and control their amount in the body.
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The human body is a complex, intelligent system that has its own antioxidant defenses to trigger recovery processes. Also, an important role is played by substances contained in food, especially in fruits and vegetables. Some vitamins, such as E and C, are effective antioxidants. Some medicines, dietary supplements, vitamin and mineral complexes have similar properties.
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Scientists note that the best strategy for adequate intake of antioxidants is to adhere to a diet rich in various vegetables and fruits, along with other good habits (sports, active lifestyle, rejection of bad habits, healthy sleep, no stress).
To get the daily dose from food, doctors recommend to include in the diet:
- Green tea, cocoa, dark chocolate, grapes - rich in tannins. Gives an astringent taste to foods. They have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, strengthen blood vessels, and remove toxins from the body.
- Blueberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, cranberries. The high content of antioxidants in berries reduces the level of "low density" cholesterol, normalizes blood pressure, improves insulin sensitivity (which is very important for diabetics), and stops the spread of cancer cells. They have antimicrobial activity and help maintain a healthy BMI.
- Coffee is the largest source of polyphenols (flavonoids) and hydrocinnamic acid. Research by Scandinavian scientists shows that drinking 1-3 cups of this invigorating drink daily provides 64% of your daily antioxidant requirements. Coffee reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes, some types of cancer, reduces the likelihood of developing dementia (Alzheimer's and Parkinson's), and increases life expectancy.
However, regularly consuming high doses of "isolated" antioxidants from the outside can be harmful. Taking medications or dietary supplements without the need and supervision of doctors can cause toxic effects and contribute to, rather than prevent, oxidative damage. Scientists call this phenomenon the "paradox of antioxidants.".