Blueberries: An Antioxidant Rich Food
Antioxidants such as anthocyanins are compounds that help to neutralise the damaging effects of free radicals. Free radicals are nasty, unstable molecules of oxygen that have lost an electron. They move around the body scavenging for electrons to stabilise themselves and in doing so, can cause oxidative stress, or damage to our cells and DNA.
Free radicals are introduced into the body in many ways – as a consequence of eating a diet high in sugar, salt and fat, smoking, drinking excessive amounts of alcohol and breathing in environmental pollutants. They’re also a by-product of normal biological functions such as breathing and digestion.
Oxidative stress can ultimately result in conditions such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure, which are risk factors for diseases including type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Antioxidants selflessly donate their electrons to free radicals; therefore, a major antioxidant benefit is that they help to reduce oxidative stress and our risk of disease. So, it’s important that we consume antioxidant-rich foods in order to keep free radical damage and oxidative stress to a minimum. Antioxidant rich foods such as blueberries are therefore a sensible addition to a healthy diet and lifestyle.