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Peanuts and nuts, especially hazelnuts, almonds and peanuts, contain antioxidants naturally. Antioxidants are natural substances that protect our body against so-called ‘free radicals’.

Free radicals are particles that are produced in our body by processes that use a lot of oxygen such as in the oxidation of nutrients. The production of free radicals is a normal biological process. Certain factors such as extreme exposure to environmental pollution or ultraviolet light, diseases and cigarette smoke may increase the production of free radicals. If they are not eliminated in time, free radicals can damage body cells. They have, in this way, a role in the ageing process and the occurrence of various welfare-related diseases.

Under normal conditions the body cells are protected against free radicals by a number of antioxidants and by nutrients with an antioxidant function such as vitamin E, vitamin C, beta-carotene and the mineral selenium. The effect of antioxidants in our diet is not yet completely clear but probably they play a preventive role in protection against cancer, cardiovascular diseases and the ageing process in general.

It is not known exactly how many of the different antioxidants our body needs. The requirement is greater when we are ill and when we are exposed to contaminating substances. Fortunately, many foodstuffs, including peanuts and nuts, contain the required antioxidants.