Antioxidants have a vital role to play in the prevention of disease and mopping up of free radicals. As part of normal oxygen metabolism natural but highly reactive free radicals are produced in the body. Free radicals cause damage to proteins, carbohydrates, DNA, cell membrane structures and other components within the cell resulting in cellular dysfunction. They are implicated in the development of many chronic diseases including diabetes, cervical cancer and aging [5].

The body's own natural defences against free radicals include specific enzymes, free radical scavengers, vitamins (C and E) and carotenoids. Disease is thought to occur when the rate at which free radicals are produced is greater than the rate at which they are removed. These natural defences are found in different types of foods examples of which are:

  • Avocados
  • Lemons
  • Limes
  • Tomatoes
  • Carrots
  • Blueberries
  • Almonds
  • Green leafy vegetables (such as kale and spinach).
  • Lettuce
  • Celery
  • Cucumber
  • Peppers (green, red etc)

Phytonutrients or Phytochemicals

These are disease-preventing compounds found in fruit and vegetables.

  • They combat disease and boost the immune system
  • They are:

              - Anti-inflammatory

              - Antiviral

              - Anti-bacterial

Phytonutrients are classed according to their protective function. For example, carotenoids are thought to protect against certain cancers and flavonoids are thought to be anti-inflammatory.

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