The science bit: What is an antioxidant?
No doubt you’ve seen the word on the back of food packaging or in a magazine advert and assumed it must be good for you if everyone is shouting about it. But what does it actually mean?
It all starts with free radicals. Free radicals (who sound like some kind of friendly 60s hippy if you ask me) are made when your body is exposed to things like tobacco or radiation, or when it breaks down food. They are unstable atoms missing the electrons which would attach to them and calm them down. And they are bad things to have wandering around as they tend to steal electrons from the nearest molecule, which turns that molecule into a free radical and enough of these can start to attack healthy cells. This is what causes the ageing process, and is thought to be responsible for things like cancer, heart disease and even arthritis.
Antioxidant molecules are stable enough to give free radicals the spare electron they need, stabilising them and stopping them from wandering around causing trouble. While your body produces some antioxidants all by itself, some you can only get through your food.
Here are the main antioxidant vitamins that you can easily fit into tasty lunches to boost your immune system naturally at the same time!