Why we all need antioxidants

Load up on antioxidants, the free radical fighters…


It’s a paradox that the oxygen we breathe to live also gradually kills us, but it’s not just oxidative stress from free radicals that threatens us. Add in daily risks from viruses to infections damaging our cells and genes, no wonder it’s in our interests to try to combat and neutralise such agents. Aging is inherent to life; slowing the process is the challenge.

We generate free radicals from the food we eat, the air we breathe and from sunlight. However, our body also makes free radical fighters: antioxidants. We don’t know all the different substances that can be converted to antioxidants, with thousands most likely yet to be discovered, but some are already familiar;

  • vitamins C & E
  • beta-carotene (which converts in the body to vitamin A)
  • minerals such as manganese and selenium
  • phytonutrients such as lycopene and anthocyanin

It’s common knowledge that antioxidants play a key role in reducing the risk of chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and cancer, yet even though consistent and substantial evidence that a routine nutrition high in fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains may be the most effective source of these key elements in sustaining good health, somehow most of us still fail to make the connection between the importance of what we eat and our long-term health.

Each antioxidant is unique and plays a different role in the protection of the body. This means variety in our food consumption can provide additional protection; no one single antioxidant can do everything. This might sound hard, yet adopting a wide range of fruit and vegetables in our regular routine nutrition is pretty straightforward. If you want to find out how, just download the Just Routine app.

Unfortunately fruit and vegetable consumption remains inadequate in many countries, including the UK and US. However, there are grounds for hope, as it has been reported that nutrition education does help it rise. Now you know the facts, you can make the change and even better, start leading by example.

The secret is to make eating more fruit, vegetables, legumes & whole grains Just Routine – like breathing.


Note: it’s preferable for antioxidants to come from food as some studies have raised the possibility of antioxidant supplements interfering with our health. Always discuss supplements with your doctor. 

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Iris is the founder of No Targets Just Routine. She has researched food since 2009 and believes “Happiness is real food shared with loved ones.”

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