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  • Immagine del redattoreDr. David Della Morte Canosci

NOURISHMENT AGAINST OXIDATIVE STRESS: UNVEILING THE POWER OF ANTIOXIDANTS

Oxidative stress nutrition, the strategy of using food to guard against cellular damage, has emerged as a crucial aspect of health and wellbeing. This article delves into the world of antioxidants, the superheroes of our bodies that combat oxidative stress.


cellula stress ossidativo

THE ROLE OF ANTIOXIDANTS

Antioxidants come to our rescue by neutralising the harmful effects of these free radicals. They are molecules that can donate an electron to a free radical without making themselves unstable. This action neutralises the free radical and prevents it from causing further damage.


ANTIOXIDANT SOURCES: A PEEK INTO VITAMINS AND MINERALS

Several vitamins and minerals play a vital role in maintaining our antioxidant defence system. These include:

  • Carotenoids: These natural pigments are found mostly in fruits and vegetables ranging from yellow to red. They're also present in green leafy vegetables.

  • Flavonoids and Chlorophyll: These are the colouring pigments of the plant world.

  • Vitamin C: This vitamin is predominantly found in plant-based foods, particularly citrus fruits, but also in bell peppers, tomatoes, and green leafy vegetables. In the animal kingdom, it's found in organ meats like liver and kidney.

  • Vitamin E: The main source of this vitamin are oils derived from seeds such as peanuts, sunflower, corn and soybean. It's also found in wheat germ, whole grains, nuts, and fatty fish.

  • Coenzyme Q: This is found in both the animal and plant world. For instance, it's present in various parts of veal, pork, and sardines, as well as in spinach and peanuts.

  • Manganese: This mineral is contained in cereals, legumes, fruits, and tea.

  • Molybdenum: This is found in many vegetables, legumes, and dark green leafy vegetables.

  • Chromium: This is found in fats, vegetable oils, meat, shellfish, and whole grains.

  • Selenium: This is found in fish, poultry, meat, milk, and cereals.

  • Zinc: This is found in milk, liver, and seafood.


alimentazione antiossidante

FOODS RICH IN ANTIOXIDANTS

Here's a list of high-antioxidant foods that can help bolster your body's defences against oxidative stress:

  1. Black grape juice: 1 glass = 5216 ORAC units

  2. Blueberries: 1 cup = 3480 ORAC units

  3. Cooked green cabbage: 1 cup = 2048 ORAC units

  4. Cooked spinach: 1 cup = 2042 ORAC units

  5. Cooked beetroot: 1 cup = 1782 ORAC units

  6. Blackberries: 1 cup = 1466 ORAC units

  7. Black prunes: 3 = 1454 ORAC units

  8. Cooked Brussels sprouts: 1 cup = 1384 ORAC units

  9. Grapefruit juice: 1 glass = 1274 ORAC units

  10. Pink grapefruit: 1 = 1188 ORAC units

The ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) units mentioned here are a measure of the antioxidant capacity of these foods.


THE MEDITERRANEAN DIET: A MODEL OF OXIDATIVE STRESS NUTRITION

The Mediterranean diet, rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins, is a perfect model of oxidative stress nutrition. Studies suggest that adherence to this diet could prevent 25% of colon and rectal cancer cases, 15% of breast cancer cases, and 10% of prostate, pancreas, and endometrial cancer cases.


LIFESTYLE CHOICES AND OXIDATIVE STRESS

Apart from diet, lifestyle choices also play a significant role in managing oxidative stress. Physical activity, for instance, although it increases the synthesis of free radicals, also makes the body's enzymatic antioxidant systems more effective. Hence, a combination of regular exercise and a well-balanced diet rich in antioxidants is the best strategy to combat oxidative stress.


THE FINAL WORD

Understanding the role of oxidative stress nutrition and incorporating antioxidant-rich foods into our diet is a step towards healthier living. However, it's essential to remember that these guidelines are not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you have specific health concerns or if you're planning significant dietary changes, always consult with a healthcare professional.


Remember, there's no 'magic bullet' for good health. A varied and balanced diet, combined with regular physical activity, adequate rest, and effective stress management, is the key to overall wellbeing.


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