Fight pollution with antioxidants

Lebanon has been facing a “garbage crisis” for the past 7 months or so. The mosquitoes and flies surrounding us are getting dirtier day by day and more and more vicious; our air, soil and water are becoming more and more contaminated; the food is becoming toxic and our health is in serious danger.

 Exposure to environmental pollutants leads to overproduction of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species. This increase in the production of the substances mentioned above, affects indirectly human health at the cellular level and has been suggested to be involved in the etiology of several chronic diseases including cancer, cardiovascular diseases, cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, and aging.

One way to protect cells of the body from damage is to follow a diet rich in antioxidants such as vitamin C and E, carotenoids, flavonoids, tannins, and phenols. Vitamin C is best found in red and sweet pepper, orange, lemon, kiwi, broccoli, strawberry, tomato juice, and spinach. Foods rich in vitamin E include almonds, cooked spinach, sunflower seeds, avocado, and olive oil. Carotenoids are yellow, orange, and red pigments synthesized by plants. The best sources of carotenoids include pumpkin, carrot, sweet potato, spinach, nectarine, tomato, and broccoli. As for flavonoids, they are best found in onions, apple, celery, romaine lettuce, blueberry, and parsley. Diet should also be rich in tannins, bitter tasting substances, which are found mostly in grapes, green tea, pomegranate, red colored legumes, and chocolate. Finally, phenols are best found in berry family, grapes, pears, apples, yellow onions, artichoke, cherry tomato and broccoli.

It is noticeable that the best sources of antioxidants are plant-based foods. Therefore, it is recommended to follow a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grain products, nuts, seeds, herbs, and spices, and even chocolate.


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