What are antioxidants?

In the 1990s, scientists discovered that many other chronic conditions were a result of oxidative damage caused by free radicals. 

The conclusion - the lack of antioxidant-rich food was a leading cause of oxidative damage.

What Are Antioxidants?

Simply put, antioxidants are molecules that counter or neutralize the effect of oxidative stress caused by free radicals. These are a part of the body’s natural defense system.

How do Antioxidants work? 

To understand how antioxidants work, let us first understand free radicals and how they cause damage. 

When the body processes food or is exposed to an external environment like pollution, smoke, alcohol intake or radiation, the waste produced at a cellular level is called free radicals. These free radicals can harm cells and interfere with their normal functioning by taking electrons from other molecules involved in various cellular processes.

The body does produce some antioxidants naturally - endogenous antioxidants. What antioxidants do is neutralize the free radicals by giving up their electrons. When free radicals are fed electrons, they may be able to fight off foreign substances like viruses and bacteria.*

However, in supplying the electron to the free radical, either a cellular process is hindered or an antioxidant is depleted. Hence, we must replenish the body’s supply of antioxidants through exogenous sources. 

Sources of antioxidants

Plants, especially the bright colored ones like peppers, dark leafy greens, beets, and berries, are antioxidant-rich foods. Meats, too, contain antioxidants but in lower amounts. Different kinds of foods supply different kinds of antioxidants, which help neutralize free radicals in different ways. 

For example, if vitamin C has provided an electron to a free radical, the demand can be fulfilled by an intake of vitamin C rich foods like Amla

Types of antioxidants - their function and sources

  • Carotenoids like beta-carotene, lycopene, and lutein, may help neutralize the free radicals that cause damage to cells. They are found in intensely pigmented fruits like carrots, tomatoes, and sweet potato. As well as dark leafy greens like swiss chard, kale, and spinach. They have been shown to enhance the immune system's function.*
  • Flavonoids like quercetin and apigenin are found in apples, berries, apricots, beans, green tea, whole wheat, and citrus fruits, to name a few. They help support brain function, heart health, immune response, urinary tract health and vision.*
  • Isothiocyanates are antioxidants mainly responsible for the detoxification of the body. They play a significant role in abnormal cell growth by deactivating carcinogens and removing them from the body.* They are found in abundance in cruciferous vegetables.
  • Resveratrol is another antioxidant that protects the lining of the blood vessels of the heart. Free radicals sometimes trap unwanted cholesterol in the arterial wall, resulting in plaque formation. Resveratrol supports healthy cholesterol levels and also may prevent the formation of clots.* It is found in red and purple grapes and peanuts.
  • Tannins are another class of antioxidants that have antiviral, antibacterial and antiparasitic effects. They are found in nuts, lentils and pomegranates.

Your diet should include a balance of various kinds of antioxidants and other nutrients. FeelGood™ sources organic superfoods from across the globe that are packed with antioxidants. 


*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

AntioxidantsNutrition 101

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published