Antioxidants as a Weapon Against Free Radicals

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Antioxidants as a Weapon Against Free Radicals
Antioxidants as a Weapon Against Free Radicals

Antioxidants are compounds that function to prevent and repair damage to cells in the body, especially those caused by exposure to free radicals. Antioxidants can be found in a variety of foods, beverages, and supplements

If the amount is normal, free radicals actually will not harm he alth. On the other hand, if the amount is in excess, free radicals can increase the risk of various he alth problems, such as premature aging, heart disease, diabetes, and dementia, as well as fertility problems, especially spermatogenesis.

Antioxidants as Weapons Against Free Radicals - Alodokter

To prevent cell damage due to exposure to free radicals, the body needs adequate intake of antioxidants.

The Role of Antioxidants in Countering the Effects of Free Radicals

Antioxidants are properties of various compounds that are able to protect body cells from the bad effects of free radicals. Free radicals can be formed inside or outside the body.

Free radicals formed in the body are chemicals that result from metabolic processes, including the digestion of food and the use of oxygen. Meanwhile, free radicals that are formed outside the body can come from cigarette smoke, vehicle fumes, radiation exposure, toxic substances (eg pesticides), and heavy metals.

If you are frequently exposed to free radicals, for example because you live in an area with high levels of pollution, you will need more antioxidants.

Because excessive exposure to pollution can make the levels of free radicals in your body higher, so you need enough antioxidants to prevent cell damage or disease.

The human body cannot naturally produce antioxidants. Therefore, you need to eat enough foods with high antioxidant content every day to counteract the effects of free radicals.

Types of Antioxidants Your Body Needs

There are several types of antioxidants, and each has a different way of protecting the body's cells from damage. Here are some of them:

  • Vitamin C, functions to prevent and repair cell damage and stimulate the formation of collagen.
  • Vitamin E, serves to reduce inflammation and increase endurance.
  • Flavonoids, function to rid the body of free radicals, support the performance of body cells, and reduce the effects of toxic substances on the body.
  • Lycopene, functions to maintain skin he alth and reduce the risk of cancer.
  • Lutein and zeaxanthin, function to protect eye and nerve cells and protect the body from degenerative diseases, such as cataracts and macular degeneration.
  • Astaxanthin, which has antioxidant abilities 6000 times stronger than vitamin C, 800 times stronger than Coenzyme Q10, and 550 times stronger than vitamin E. These compounds function to increase body immunity, reduce symptoms of COVID-19, reduce cytokine storms, and protect body cells from damage, including preventing skin aging, cancer, heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes.

In addition, there are many other types of antioxidants that are no less important for he alth, including glutathione, beta-carotene, polyphenols, and anthocyanins.

Diverse Sources of Antioxidants

Here are some food sources of antioxidants that are recommended to be consumed regularly:

  • Fruits, such as figs, apples, pears, grapes, oranges, bananas, mangoes, pineapples, papayas, breadfruit, strawberries, and purple corn
  • Vegetables, such as broccoli, asparagus, tomatoes, red cabbage, sweet potatoes
  • Nuts, such as pecans, walnuts, soybeans, and almonds
  • Grains, such as barley or barley, flaxseed, and chia seeds
  • Chocolate, tea, coffee and certain herbs.

In addition, the consumption of mushrooms, such as enoki mushrooms, is also recommended to meet the intake of antioxidants for your body.

Although antioxidants can be obtained naturally from food, sometimes the diet that we apply every day is not enough to meet the need for antioxidants. If that's the case, then you need to get additional antioxidant intake, for example from supplements.

In taking antioxidant supplements, you should not be careless, especially regarding the dose. Instead of bringing benefits, antioxidant supplements taken in excess can actually harm he alth.

In smokers, for example, beta-carotene supplements in high levels are at risk of causing lung cancer. Meanwhile, high doses of vitamin E supplements can increase the risk of stroke and prostate cancer.

Antioxidant supplements, including those from herbal products, are also at risk of causing drug interactions if they are taken together with certain drugs.

Therefore, always pay attention to the instructions for use listed on the packaging of antioxidant supplements before consuming them.

Tips for Safe Eating Fruits and Vegetables

A variety of he althy foods, especially fruits and vegetables, are good sources of antioxidants. However, just like supplements, you also need to be careful in taking them.

The reason is that if you eat fruit or vegetables that are not fresh, you might even get a disease due to infection with germs, such as Salmonella, E. coli, and Listeria. These germs can also cause food poisoning.

In order to get the benefits of antioxidants while avoiding the possibility of disease, here are tips that you can apply:

  • Choose fruits and vegetables that have no defects. On the other hand, avoid choosing fruits that look bruised in certain places or vegetables that have turned black.
  • Keep fruits and vegetables in the refrigerator separately from raw meat, so that bacteria from the meat do not stick.
  • Wash your hands before and after washing or preparing fruits and vegetables.
  • Wash fruits and vegetables under running water.
  • Peel and cut fruit or vegetables using a separate knife and cutting board. If the knife and cutting board have just been used for meat, wash them thoroughly first.

Those are various types of antioxidants, their sources, and safe tips for getting their benefits.

It is also important for you to know that the benefits of antioxidants obtained from food or supplements can be maximized by implementing a he althy lifestyle, such as exercising regularly, getting enough rest, managing stress well, and not smoking.

If you still have questions regarding antioxidants for daily consumption or are confused about how to get antioxidants, you can consult a doctor.

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