What are antioxidants?
Antioxidants are substances that neutralise the action of free radicals (reactive oxygen species), which have a negative effect on cell health and ageing - but in a healthy body, these substances maintain a balance. Due to an inappropriate lifestyle (smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, poor eating habits, etc.), free radicals can predominate, causing so‑called oxidative stress, which can contribute to the development of certain diseases.
Antioxidants are naturally produced in the human body, provided a healthy lifestyle is followed. They can also be replenished through a varied and balanced diet. In exceptional cases (unavailability of seasonal fruit and vegetables, food allergies, etc.), it is also possible to reach for dietary supplements with a high antioxidant content.
In particular, the best antioxidant properties are vitamins (especially vitamins C, A and E), some micronutrients (on their own or as part of antioxidant enzymes, e.g. selenium, zinc, manganese), plant dyes, flavonoids and other bioactive substances (e.g. coenzyme Q10, melatonin). Due to the high content of these substances, they are considered good sources of antioxidants, e.g.:
- dark chocolate and other cocoa products
- berries - goji, acai, cranberries or rosehips
- green superfoods - young barley, chlorella or spirulina
- vegetables - beetroot, artichokes or garlic
- vital mushrooms - chaga, oyster mushroom or shiitake
- spices and herbs - turmeric, cinnamon, oregano or basil
- black tea and coffee
Antioxidants are nowadays also produced synthetically and their effects are used, as well as natural ones, e.g. in food preservation or cosmetics.