While most people have heard of antioxidants, few actually know what they are. Antioxidants are substances that can protect cells from damage caused by free radicals.
Free radicals are not a political group or punk rock band, but are actually unstable molecules that if left unchecked can cause cellular damage.
There is a growing body or research to suggest that by 'mopping up' these free radicals, antioxidants can slow or even prevent the development of cancer.
So how do you get antioxidants? They are found in many fruits and vegetables, are abundant in nuts and grains, and are even in some meat, poultry and fish. They are also available as a supplement. The most common sources are:
- Vitamin A - found in carrots, milk, egg yolks, sweet potatoes, liver, and mozzarella cheese.
- Vitamin C - found in many fruits and vegetables; also in cereals, beef, poultry and fish.
- Vitamin E - found in nuts (particularly almonds), broccoli, and many oils (including wheat germ, safflower, corn and soybean).
- Beta-carotene - found in carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, apricots, cantaloupe, pumpkin, and mangos. Also some leafy green vegetables such as spinach, and kale.
- Lutein - found in leafy green vegetables including spinach, kale, and collard greens.
- Lycopene - found in tomatoes, watermelon, apricots, papaya, guava, pink grapefruit, and blood oranges.
- Selenium - this is actually a mineral, found in animals that eat grains or plants grown in selenium-rich soil. Common sources include rice, wheat, meat, bread and Brazil nuts.
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