Published On: 29 August 2013Categories: AntioxidantsTags: , , , , , , , ,

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Antioxidants are compounds in the body that can have a protective function against diseases such as cancer and heart disease. The antioxidants work by neutralising damaging compounds in the body called free radicals. Free radicals are molecules with an unpaired electron which are produced naturally in the body as a side effect of energy production. The antioxidants donate an electron to the free radicals which stops them from causing any damage. Without the antioxidants, free radicals are associated with an increased risk for cancer, heart disease, ageing, increased muscle soreness after exercise by disrupting DNA, destroying enzymes and oxidising LDL cholesterol leading to atherosclerosis. Exercise causes an increased production of free radicals due to the increased demand for energy production. As a consequence of this, more foods containing antioxidants should be consumed in the diet to counteract the free radical production and to give yourself the best protection possible.

Antioxidants are found naturally in foods in the form of vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. Each has different properties so eating a wide range of the following foods is the best approach:

  • Fruits and vegetables are the best sources particularly blackcurrants, strawberries, oranges, tomatoes, grapes, cherries, broccoli, green & red peppers, avocado, carrots, watermelon, mango, sweet potatoes, spinach and dried apricots.
  • Drinks sources such as green tea and red wine (which contain flavenoids and polyphenols)
  • Wholegrains, breads, cereals and nuts (which contain the minerals selenium, copper and zinc).


There are antioxidant supplements available but the best sources are directly from fresh fruit and vegetables. So make sure they are playing a big part in your diet and aim to get 3-5 portions of both fruit and vegetables each day.

Please feel free to contact the G4 Didsbury Clinic (Manchester) to speak to a member of our diet & nutrition team for any questions that you may have or if you wish to arrange a consultation to discuss your diet, nutrition and lifestyle.


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