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Free radicals are molecules that are notorious for triggering some of the most dreaded diseases like cancer and other medical problems involving the kidneys, eyes, lungs and pancreas. It is observed that the body cells depend on oxygen to perform various functions. When body cells react with oxygen (this process is known as oxidation), free radicals are released into the body. While it is impossible to avoid free radicals, reducing their concentration in the body is possible and not at all difficult. In order to kill these free radicals, we have to take the help of their enemies that are commonly known as antioxidants. Also referred as free radical scavengers, antioxidants are substances that have proved to be effective in keeping a check on free radicals. They restrict the action of oxidative damage substantially, thus helping to promote overall health.
Flavonoids
Different antioxidants like vitamin A, vitamin C, carotenoids, selenium, and flavonoids, are present in various foods, and all are found to be effective against free radical damage. However, the one that stands out from other antioxidants are flavonoids as they are found to be more powerful in combating the free radical effect. Studies showed that flavonoids are more effective in controlling free radical damage done at the cellular level. Flavonoids can also help to speed up healing of muscle injuries that occur after strenuous exercises. Following are the antioxidant rich foods that need to be consumed regularly to keep the 'bad guys' (free radicals) at bay.
Fruits
If you are serious about getting rid of free radicals, you need to consume fruits like cherries and apples, as they are great sources of flavonoids. Apart from apples, fruits that can contribute immensely to protect the body from free radical damage are peaches and oranges. Oranges are not only good sources of flavonoids but are also rich in vitamin C. Therefore, inclusion of oranges in the diet is an effective way to tackle this problem of free radicals.
Vegetables
Studies have shows that among all vegetables, level of flavonoids is highest in beans. So whether it is pinto beans, red beans or black beans, one can surely get adequate amount of flavonoids from these vegetables. Besides beans, antioxidant levels, especially that of flavonoids, is also commendable in tomatoes. Vegetables like spinach and sweet potatoes also contain moderate amounts of flavonoids.
Beverages
Concentration of flavonoids is also found to be high in green tea. Red wine is yet another source that contains a great deal of antioxidants including flavonoids. Although the beverage made from red grapes has a high amount of flavonoids, drinking it in moderation is a pre-requisite to enjoy the benefits of the antioxidant activity of flavonoids. Dark beers that include porter also has a good concentration of flavonoids.
Supplements
Taking antioxidant supplements can also benefit to eliminate free radicals. Flavonoid supplements is yet another way to reap the benefits of their antioxidant properties. However, those on a healthy diet need not consider supplements as a way to combat these 'bad guys'. Supplements come into the picture only when the diet is lacking in flavonoids. Overdose of antioxidants is absolutely unnecessary and definitely an inappropriate way to control the free radical menace.
On the whole, meals containing a variety of vegetables and fruits provide a natural way to reduce the production of free radicals. So, just ensure that a healthy diet forms an inseparable part of your lifestyle, and then you don't have to really worry about free radical damage, for years to come.