Antioxidants: what they are, what they are for [Vichy experts’ opinion]

Contents

What are antioxidants?

Antioxidants are called substances that neutralize the attacks of free radicals – unstable molecules that enter the body from the outside, primarily from polluted air. Harmful free radicals are also formed in the body itself – if, for example, you do not eat right or get carried away with sunbathing.

An unpaired electron makes free radicals too active. They “cling” to other molecules, attaching the missing one and thereby triggering oxidative reactions in the cells.

Of course, the body has its own antioxidant defense system. But over time, it weakens, the cells are damaged, and disorders accumulate in them. Then antioxidants come to the rescue in the composition of food, vitamins, dietary supplements and cosmetics.

Why do humans need antioxidants?

The role of antioxidants in our lives cannot be overestimated. They help limit the aggression of free radicals and repair the damage they have caused. According to some reports, their effectiveness is 99%.

That’s what antioxidants do.

  • They resist free radicals, interrupting the destructive oxidation process.
  • Strengthen the body’s own antioxidant system.
  • They prevent the decomposition of products by microbes and bacteria, so they can be used as preservatives.
  • Reduce the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation.
  • Contribute to the restoration of metabolism.

What types of antioxidants are there?

Antioxidants can be of natural origin and ingested from food (primarily vegetables and fruits), as well as from plant extracts.

They can also be obtained by chemical synthesis. This is for example:

  • most vitamins;
  • some enzymes (superoxide dismutase).

Chemical origin is not a disadvantage. On the contrary, it allows you to create the most active form of the substance, to achieve maximum concentration.

The most active fighters with free radicals are:

  • vitamins A, C and E, some researchers also include vitamins of group B;
  • unsaturated fatty acids Omega-3 and -6;
  • superoxide dismutase;
  • resveratrol;
  • Coenzyme Q10;
  • extracts of green tea, pine bark, ginkgo biloba;
  • milk serum.

What products contain them

A diet rich in antioxidants is what you need to prolong youth and beauty. Let’s see what products they contain.

Antioxidants

Foodstuffs

Vitamin C

citrus fruits, rose hips, red bell pepper (paprika), spinach, fresh tea leaves

Vitamin A

butter, fish oil, milk, egg yolk, liver of fish and animals, caviar

Provitamin A (beta carotene)

spinach, carrots, beets, pumpkin, apricots, peaches, red peppers, tomatoes

Vitamin E (tocopherol)

cereal seeds, vegetable oils (soybean, corn, cottonseed), egg yolk, vegetables, legumes, oil wheat germ

Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)

milk, meat, egg yolk, legumes, yeast

Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid)

liver, peanuts, mushrooms, lentils, chicken eggs, peas, onions, cabbage, oatmeal

Vitamin B6

salmon, sardines, sunflower seeds, sweet peppers, bran bread, wheat germ

Omega-3

fish (salmon, tuna, sardines, halibut, pink salmon), fish oil, seafood

Omega-6

vegetable oils, nuts, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds

Coenzyme Q10

beef, herring, chicken, sesame seeds, peanuts, broccoli

Resveratrol

black grape skins, red wine

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