1. Health & Lifestyle

What are Antioxidants; Know Their Types and Sources

What are antioxidants? What are their various types and sources? Read on to find out.

Kritika Madhukar
Broccoli : A rich source of Antioxidants
Broccoli : A rich source of Antioxidants

Antioxidants are chemical compounds that inhibit reactions such as oxidation. Antioxidants source could be man-made or natural. Oxidation produces free radicals in the body that causes damage to the cells and disrupts bodily functions.  

Free radicals are highly unstable molecules. They are formed naturally in the body when the body performs natural bodily functions such as converting food into energy or exercising. The body is vulnerable to getting exposed to free radicals while smoking, being in the sunlight for long hours, or air pollution. Free radicals can cause oxidative damages. Antioxidants prevent or slow the damages caused by oxidative stress in cells. Accumulation of free radicals in the body could lead to various health-related issues such as cancer, Perkinson's disease, Alzheimer's, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, etc.  

Types of Antioxidants 

Antioxidants are mainly of three types. They consist of primary, secondary, and tertiary antioxidants.  

Primary Antioxidants 

Primary antioxidants are also called essential antioxidants. They are naturally produced by our body and are present in the form of enzymes. They help in preventing the body from oxidative damages and inflammatory diseases.  

Secondary Antioxidants 

Secondary antioxidants are mainly responsible for retarding oxidation reactions in the body. They act to convert hydroperoxides into non-radical, nonreactive, and stable components. Hyperoxides or superoxides are oxides that contain large amounts of oxygen that lead to oxidative stress. 

Tertiary Antioxidants 

Tertiary antioxidants act in repairing oxidized molecules in proteolytic enzymes or enzymes found in DNA. 

Sources of Antioxidants 

Antioxidants are available in a variety of foods. Blueberry, dark chocolates, oranges, broccoli, strawberries, grapes, spinach, beans, beetroots, kale, sweet potatoes, and carrots are some of the food which have a high content of antioxidants. 

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