Antioxidants are natural substances produced in our bodies or obtained from the foods that we eat — in particular, plant foods such as fruits and vegetables and wholegrains. They act by helping the body rid itself of harmful free radicals which attack the body's cells and are produced by normal bodily processes such as aging and by external sources such as pollutants. Free radicals may cause damage leading to heart disease, cancer, cataracts and arthritis, and the consumption of antioxidants can slow down this process.
Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fats found in fish and seafood and in several plants and plant oils (such as canola, linseed and walnuts).
Organic food refers to food which is grown and produced without the use of synthetic chemicals such as pesticides and fertilisers. Organic foods are not genetically modified and are free from pesticides and growth promoting substances such as steroids, hormones and antibiotics. Organic farming is also concerned with protecting the environment by conserving water, soil and energy, and using renewable resources and natural farming cycles.
- lower levels of harmful nitrates
- higher vitamin C levels (although this may be because of lower fluid concentrations in organic foods)
- higher levels of phytochemicals such as lycopenes, flavonols, and polyphenols (naturally occurring plant chemicals that have several health benefits and protect against chronic disease)
- higher levels of selenium