7 Antioxidant Definitions to Help You Make Healthy Choices ...

Antioxidant definitions are valuable because they’ll help you make good choices when you’re debating about what foods to buy and which ones to skip. These nutrients are available in a wide range of foods, including fruits, vegetables, coffee, tea, chocolate and much more. By including them in your diet, you can effectively counteract the free radical damage that lends itself to the development of cancer and heart disease. Read through these antioxidant definitions and you’ll be super prepared next time you shop for groceries.

1. Antioxidant

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Maybe it’s obvious, but I recently encountered someone who thought that antioxidants are naturally produced by the body, so this is one of the most important antioxidant definitions to understand. So, I want to get this definition out of the way for anyone who is new to the lingo. An antioxidant is a plant compound that does wonders for your health. However, you must get them from food as your body doesn’t make them for you. There are lots of antioxidants and each isn’t the same. For the sake of keeping it simple, just assume that the healthier and more brightly colored foods you eat, the more variety of antioxidants you are probably getting.

2. Vitamins

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You might be wondering why this definition is appearing on an antioxidant definition list. There are a few vitamins that are considered antioxidants. That includes vitamins A, C and E. The first two are abundant in fruits and vegetables and the last one is found in nuts. Add a variety of these foods to your meal plan and chances are you’re covered!

3. Free Radicals

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So what are those things that antioxidants fight? They’re called free radicals and you’re exposed to them through environmental toxins, chemicals and even a poor diet. There’s no way to avoid them, but you can fight back by eating lots of foods high in antioxidants. Free radicals can alter your cell structure, which is why they are so worrisome in terms of disease.

4. Carotenoids

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Carotenoids are one type of antioxidant. Beta-carotene, lycopene and lutein are some of the better known in this category. They work together to fight certain types of cancer, including prostate, mouth, throat, stomach, colon and rectum cancers. Look for deeply colored red, orange and yellow fruits and vegetables to increase your carotenoid intake. Tomatoes, carrots, squash and sweet potatoes are prime choices.

5. Macular Degeneration

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This an age-related vision disease that dramatically decreases a person’s eye health and ability to see properly. Lutein is a powerful antioxidant that plays a role in helping prevent it. Kale, spinach and other leafy, green vegetables are great sources of the antioxidant and should have a place in all your salad recipes. You can also sauté kale or spinach and serve it as a side dish.

6. Selenium

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This is a nutrient that has great antioxidant properties. It’s not one that you need tons of so you might not hear much about it. It’s present in shellfish, fish, red meat, chicken, garlic, eggs and many kinds of grains. With such a long list of food sources, it’s pretty easy to be sure you’re getting enough.

7. Intake Recommendations

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This definition refers to how much of each antioxidant you need each day. It’s never a good idea to assume that more is better. Vitamin A is one antioxidant that can be toxic in high doses, for example. My advice is to talk to your doctor about how much is appropriate and then choose foods that help you meet the guidelines.

Do you think about antioxidants when you make food choices? Does this list help change your mind? I hope so!

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