Fruits and veggies offer antioxidants

Fruits and veggies offer antioxidants

By Jessica Krueger, MCHD intern, GVSU clinical dietetics student

We all know it is important to eat fruits and vegetables, but do we know some of the benefits of eating a wide variety of them? I’m sure some people have noticed there are many different colors ranging from yellow to orange and even red. The make-up of these fruits and vegetables is very different from each other, so when you pick up that purple carrot and want to eat it because it’s a fun different color, understand that there is more to it than just the color it beholds. Purple carrots, along with other produce such as blueberries, are high in antioxidants.

Antioxidants are able to inhibit the oxidation process that occurs within all living organisms. This oxidation process creates free radicals. Antioxidants are important to the body because they can help reduce damage to the body’s cells caused by free radicals. Free radicals are a byproduct from food being broken down, tobacco smoke, or radiation. These free radicals have a tendency to damage surrounding cells and have been linked to cancer and other diseases. Some other health related issues that may have been induced by free radicals include arthritis, diabetes, cataracts, and kidney disease. Although antioxidants are created within the body, it can always be beneficial to ingest foods that help provide even more antioxidants.

There are different types of antioxidants that can be ingested through fruits and vegetables. The antioxidants obtained through fruits and vegetables include different vitamins such as vitamin A, E, C, beta-carotene, and folic acid. These can also be consumed through pill form, but the body better absorbs them through food. Another main antioxidant are phytochemicals which are produced in plants to stop the harmful effects of free radicals too. Plants too have free radicals from the oxidation process that harm their cells. The types of antioxidants that can be found from phytochemicals include carotenoids, polyphenols, flavonoids, and allyl sulphides.

To read the full story, please pick up a copy of this months Marquette Monthly at one of our distribution outlets.

MM

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