Every day, harmful molecules, called free radicals, are produced in the body as a result of normal metabolic processes. When you digest food, or when you contract a muscle or burn energy, your body produces free radicals and the build-up of those molecules in the body is believed to increase your risk of cancer and chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease. Free radicals can also be produced by the breakdown of medicine and the ingestion of pollutants. Hopefully, there is a way to diminish the damage from those compounds and the solution is to eat antioxidants.
What Are Antioxidants?
An antioxidant is a molecule that lowers or eliminates the oxidation capacity of those chemical compounds. Antioxidants help to get rid of free radicals via urine and feces and possess health-protection benefits. Those non-nutritive compounds are found in plant foods such as fruits, vegetables, legumes and nuts.
Why Are Antioxidants Important?
Antioxidants are helpful for the general population as they are beneficial for the overall health.
Why Should Athletes Consume Antioxidants?
Antioxidants have many benefits for athletes and will improve performance on the long term. They also:
Sources of Antioxidants:
These are the most common antioxidants found in foods. They hold different antioxidant capacities (prevention of cancer, anti-inflammatory, blood glucose stabilizer, etc.) that is why a variety should be consumed in order to perceive different functional benefits.
How to Get More Antioxidants?
There is not a recommended daily allowance for all antioxidants. Some of them have a recommended daily intake (such as vitamin E and C), but the other antioxidants need to be more researched to be able to precisely determine the ideal intake.
The best way to get antioxidants is from your diet, not from supplements. Supplements often have very high amounts of vitamins and minerals that are too high for you, some can accumulate in your body and become harmful. The amounts commonly found in foods, however, are always safe.
It is quite easy for plant lovers to have enough antioxidants in their diets, however here are a few tips for the others:
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