Which Vitamins and Minerals are Antioxidants?
What are antioxidants and why are they so important?
Antioxidants are part of nutrients, minerals and vitamins present in foods. They are very common in plant foods like purple blueberries, orange carrots and red cherries. The most common antioxidants are selenium, beta carotene, vitamins A, C and E. Why antioxidants are so important for your health? It is all because of oxidation – natural process that can produce reactive substances – free radicals. These substances can lead to your body’s cell damage. Antioxidants can stabilize free radicals before they make problems. With age your natural defenses against damage caused by free radicals and oxidative stress become less effective. According to experts oxidative stress is responsible for many health disorders associated with the aging process such as cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease or cancer. This is why it is so important to provide antioxidants to your body.
Which vitamins and minerals are antioxidants? Where you can find them?
Selenium is an important mineral. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center it works as an antioxidant in your body. This mineral plays a key role in maintaining the proper and health functioning of the immune system. You can find selenium in variety foods like whole grains, garlic, butter and liver. Also seafood and fish are a great source of selenium (lobster, scallops, oysters, flounder, herring, and mackerel). Other potential sources of this precious mineral include sunflower seeds and Brazil nuts. If it’s not enough you can always take some supplements.
- Vitamin A
This vitamin as an antioxidant is important for sufficient immunity, healthy growth of bones, functioning reproductive system and proper vision. Vitamin A is present in many dietary sources such as spinach, sweet potatoes, carrots, whole milk, beef liver, pumpkin and squash. Also you can find it in various supplements.
- Vitamin C
Also vitamin C works as antioxidants. This vitamin is quite common. You can find it especially in tomatoes, strawberries, leafy green vegetables, green peppers and citrus fruits.
- Vitamin E
Vitamin E as antioxidant supports immune function in your body and improve proper metabolism. This vitamin can be consumed in many foods like green leafy vegetables, avocado, seeds, nuts and nut butter. Also vegetable oils are high in vitamin E (olive oil, canola oil, sunflower oil and safflower oil).
Antioxidants are very important to protect and improve our overall health. Most of people have no idea that vitamins A, C and E and selenium works as antioxidants. The good news is that it is so easy to find foods high in antioxidants. Vegetables and fruits are the best sources of this precious substance. Keep in mind that aside from minerals and vitamins there are other types of antioxidants and they are available in supplements or foods. Many of them belong to flavonoids (a family of plant chemicals). Also several herbs have antioxidant activity: bilberry, ginkgo, turmeric, garlic, ginger and cayenne. Remember about important role of antioxidants and make sure your diet contain foods rich in these substances.