You need antioxidants to prevent heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes and other kind of health problems.
Significantly, the weakness of your body’s antioxidant system might be a factor in the increase of the severity of some viruses. Hence, taking antioxidant supplementation has been on high recommendation as a helpful strategy to fight against viruses.
Moreover, experts said that antioxidants are incredibly beneficial to good health.
What are Antioxidants
Antioxidants are compounds naturally produced by your body. They defend your cells from harmful oxidants known as free radicals.
The prefix ‘anti’ means against, or in opposition to. In this case, the ‘anti’ in antioxidant describes the effect of certain chemicals against oxidants.
Oxidants referred to as free radicals, are natural by-products of the millions of biochemical processes undertaken by the body every minute. These harmful by-products can cause your body cell damage, usually to DNA, fats and proteins.
Apparently, free radicals can also enter the body through external influences. For instance, through exposure to the sun, pesticides and other kinds of environmental pollution.
However, their high levels can also be due to mental and physical stress. Also, by excessive consumption of alcoholic drinks, unhealthy foods, and cigarette smoke.
The Antioxidants’ Enzymes
The antioxidants produced in your body has the so called antioxidant enzymes. Some of the most well known are Catalase, Superoxide Dismutase and glutathione:
Catalase converts hydrogen peroxide into water and oxygen.
Superoxide Dismutase breaks antioxidants down into hydrogen peroxide and speeds up certain chemical reactions in the body.
Glutathione is a detoxifying agent, changing the form of toxins so that they are easily eliminated by the body.
Good nutrition is the best way to get the supply of the other antioxidants. Some of the commonly known antioxidants are the Vitamins A, B6, C and E. The variety of fruits and vegetables are the best sources of these antioxidants.
Minerals such as selenium, zinc, glutathione and co-enzyme Q10 also have antioxidant properties. In fact, the flavonoids from cranberries and green tea also act as antioxidants. Similarly, the amino acids from quinoa and eggs are also antioxidants rich.
Interestingly, single antioxidants, such as vitamin E, need other vitamins in order to work effectively as antioxidants. Hence, taking antioxidants in combination is a great practice.
Why Do You Need Antioxidants
Basically, you need antioxidants to fight against the harmful effects of free radicals in your body. High levels of free radicals present in your body cause a state known as oxidative stress.
Although your body produces antioxidants naturally, unhealthy habits may lead to its reduced levels. Fortunately, eating a balanced diet rich in antioxidants can help fight oxidative stress. It will also help reduce the damage to cells. Besides, the increase levels of antioxidants in your body may slow down the aging process. Then, prevent or even reverse certain diseases.
Antioxidants Blocks The Harmful Effects of Oxidative Stress
In much the same way as oxidation causes rust on cars, oxidation inside the body causes a breakdown on cells. If the amount of free radical oxidation in the body rise to an unhealthy level, it can result in serious damage to your cellular components, proteins, and DNA.
Below are some harmful effects caused by high levels of free radicals in your body:
- Accelerate the ageing process.
- Contribute to a wide range of degenerative illnesses.
- Reduce the body’s ability to deal with cardiovascular malfunction, eye disease, cancer and type 2 diabetes.
- Compromise the immune system, leading to immunological disorders.
- Cause the development of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
- Lessen of the body’s ability to heal wounds and overcome infections.
- It may also play a role in developing arthritis and similar chronic conditions.
Significantly, antioxidants counter these effects by binding with free radicals before they can cause damage. They then convert them into non-damaging biochemical substances, assisting enormously with the reparation of cellular damage.
Top 10 Antioxidants Rich Food
A diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables provides a large supply of antioxidants. It will help eliminate the damaging effects of free radicals. Fruits and leafy green vegetables such as spinach, blueberries and tomatoes have the highest concentrations of antioxidants.
In fact, the antioxidants in foods can help prevent cancer and reverse or slow aging. In addition, they enhance your immune system, increase your energy and improve your heart’s health.
Given all the information about antioxidants and their beneficial properties, there is no reason you should not get your share. You need to consume enough fruits and vegetables, the primary sources of antioxidants, to keep your whole being healthy. Actually, experts recommend a minimum of 5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily.
Here are the top 10 antioxidants rich foods:
1. The Berry Family
The acai berry contains a wide range of nutrients and high number of antioxidants. Interestingly, they possess almost four times of the antioxidant content of blueberries. Hence, they are one of the perfect sources of antioxidants. It is one of the top 10 “superfoods” in the world. In particular, they aid in lowering the cholesterol level and reducing the risk of cancer. Much more, they can help improve your brain function particularly in memory and learning.
Blueberries are not only full of vitamins and minerals, they are also rich in powerful antioxidants known as anthocyanins. Clearly, they are one of the superfoods for a reason,. They boast a number of health benefits such as reducing heart disease risk, maintaining strong bones and improving brain function.
Goji berries is also one of the superfoods in the world. They contain unique antioxidant called lycium barbarum polysaccharides which can combat skin aging and reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer.
Strawberries are the most commonly known among the berry family. Similar to the other berry members, strawberries also has a superfood status. Some studies shown that strawberries could prevent heart disease. Since they also contain antioxidant that could reduce inflammation and decrease blood pressure. They also have polyphenols which are compounds known to help improve insulin sensitivity.
Avocados contains powerful antioxidants that are needed to keep your eyes healthy. They have carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin that are helpful in protecting your eyes. They not only lower the levels of bad cholesterol but also increase the level of good cholesterol. Moreover, they have high levels of monounsaturated fats which is helpful in regulating blood sugar levels.
In general, the most common beans you find in the market has more or less the same nutrional value. There are a number of edible bean types out there such as red beans, black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans and edamame beans. They are all declared antioxidants winner foods.
Most of them are full of fiber, phytochemicals, and protein. In fact, it was found out that beans contains almost the same amount of proteins in meat. Hence, making them a staple protein source food for vegans. In addition, they contain B Vitamins, Vitamin K and potassium.
Moreover, consuming beans regularly may help reduce cholesterol which is a leading cause of heart disease. Also, their fiber content may also help reduce risk of some cancers like colon cancer, breast cancer and prostate cancer.
Furthermore, some beans like pinto and red beans particularly contains an antioxidant called kaempferol. This antioxidant has been known to reduce chronic inflammation and suppress the growth of cancers.
Nuts are the best nutritious pick-me-up snack food. They are rich in fiber, protein, and unsaturated fats. There are a lot of variety of nutritious nuts such as walnuts, pistachios, almonds and pecans. And one of the healthiest among them are the walnuts.
Walnuts which have an uncanny resemblance to the human brain are said to be good for our brain health. According to studies, they may keep the brain healthy and could improve memory.
Moreover, the unsalted walnuts contain polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats which made them good for the heart, too. Most significantly, is their high polyphenol content. Walnuts has antioxidants that could prevent oxidative stress that may also help with inflammation and weight control. And also of diseases prevention such as cancer.
Similarly, the other nuts such as pistachios, almonds and pecans are also bursting with nutrients and antioxidants. They have fiber, minerals, and unsaturated fat that can help keep your blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol in check. In addition, they contain calcium, magnesium, manganese, copper, Vitamin A, Vitamin K, protein, and zinc which contribute to bone and eye health.
5. Dark Green Vegetables
Dark green vegetables like broccoli and spinach are nutrition powerhouse. Broccoli contains phenolics, which are high in antioxidants and anti-cancer properties. They protect against disease, inflammation, and allergies.
Likewise, spinach is a low-calorie veggie loaded with nutrients. In particular, it contains a carotenoid lutein which promotes eye health and prevents macular degeneration. Furthermore, since lutein also functions as an antioxidant, it may also help improve heart health and decrease the risk of cancer.
Artichokes are one of the top among the immune-boosting and antioxidant-rich foods. They contain plenty powerful nutrients that prevents cancer and fights diseases. Similar to most superfoods, they could also help lower bad cholesterol, regulate blood pressure, reduce blood sugar level and improve digestive health.
7. Root Crops / Root Vegetables
Root crops are also superfoods. Beetroot leads the pack of root vegetables that are rich in antioxidants. They contain antioxidants that can suppress inflammation and lower the risk of cancer in the digestive tract and colon. Also, they are good sources of dietary fiber which is beneficial to the colon.
Of course, the famous carrots is also on the top of the most nutritious. They have vitamins A, Vitamin K and the antioxidant beta-carotene.
Accordingly, onions, potatoes, sweet potatoes, ginger, turnips, garlic, turmeric, radishes, etc. are likewise great sources of antioxidants.
8. Dark Chocolate
Specifically, dark chocolates (not just any sweetened milk chocolates) are rich in antioxidants. Dark chocolate with at least 70 percent cacao have health benefits. The flavonoids in cacao beans act as antioxidants to prevent cancer, promote heart health and weight loss. In addition, they may also aid in improving cognition, preventing memory loss, and boosting your mood.
According to researches, fish are also high in antioxidants. Particularly, fish such as sardines, salmon, mackerel and tuna. They are great sources of Omega 3 which help prevent inflammatory diseases such as coronary heart disease. Furthermore, fish also have Vitamin D which cannot be easily found in other foods.
Teas had been part of some countries’ culture and lifestyle to some people. However, aside from being a better alternative to coffee due to its lower caffeine content. Most teas are good for health and contains antioxidants. For instance, white tea, green tea, black tea, oolong tea, rooibos tea and a lot more. As far as antioxidants are concerned, white tea is ranking one followed by jasmine tea, green tea, then black tea. White tea tops the list for the reason that it is the least processed tea. By this standard, it might be considered the “healthiest” of them all.
What Foods Have Antioxidants
Since the discovery of vitamins, it has been recognized that antioxidants in the diet are essential for healthful lives. More recently, a large body of evidence has been accumulated that suggests that supplementation of the diet with various kinds of antioxidants can improve health and extend life.
Cooking can destroy some antioxidants and interfere with the body’s ability to absorb them, so eating raw vegetables and fruit, and including sprouts in the diet can help. Steaming vegetables as opposed to frying, microwaving or boiling is also a good idea.
List of Foods Rich in Antioxidants
There are a wide variety of fruits and vegetables as natural sources of antioxidants. Here are some of them:
Eat Your Colors!
As the expression goes, “Eat your colors!” Obviously, as foods have different colors, they contain different antioxidants and benefits according to their “color families”.
For instance, the yellow food group is rich in vitamins A, B, E and minerals. They are also high in fiber which can help you deal with digestive problems such as constipation, hemorrhoids and colonn cancer.
Then, the green food group is a great source of phytonutrients. This food group can regulate blood sugar levels. For the reason that they contain low sugar and are full of fiber and water content. Also, they contain bone-strengthening vitamin K, Vitamin C and folate, which helps in regulating cell growth and reproduction.
Furthermore, the red group contains the powerful antioxidants called Lycopene and Anthocyanin. On the one hand, Lycopene has been shown to protect the eyes and fight infections. It also helps lower heart disease risk, and protect against damage from smoking. On the other hand, Anthocyanins not only helps in improving eyesight but also in protecting the liver. Moreover, this food group helps reduce the risk of of diabetes, osteoporosis, and high cholesterol. They also help in reducing blood pressure and inflammation.
On the whole, as long as the food come from plants (no matter the color), there surely be antioxidants content within that fruit or veggie. Just remember to eat a variety of them, and you will sure be on your antioxidants rich meals. You can cook them, juice them, or simply eat them raw.
Recently, antioxidant supplements became more in demand due to the pandemic. Antioxidants from plants were widely used as ingredients in these supplements. And they were commonly promoted as aid for health to prevent cancer and heart disease.
However, while many studies suggested benefits for antioxidant supplements, several large clinical trials failed to clearly demonstrate a benefit for the formulations tested, and excess supplementation may be harmful. In fact, high doses of supplements can be fatal.
Moreover, every individual has different supplementary needs. Hence, it is best to consult your doctor and choose the right antioxidant supplements according to your needs.
Disclaimer: This information is for educational and informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read.
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