Antioxidants are found in many fresh foods. Most of us know the saying “An apple a day, keeps the doctor away.” An apple contains lots of vitamins and minerals that provide huge health benefits. Naturally, all fruits and vegetables contain vitamins and minerals, not just apples. Berries, leafy greens and nuts contain nutrients that can help improve our health. In this article, we will go through some of the best foods for maintaining a healthy diet. First, let’s look at what an antioxidant is and how they can help us.
What is an Antioxidant?
An antioxidant is a substance that can be found in fruits, vegetables or even in meats. Our body inhibits oxidation. This occurs when we digest food. Hindering the oxidation process leads to the creation of free radicals in our body. Free radicals can cause a chemical reaction. This chemical reaction may damage our cells, to maintain the balance our body overlaps antioxidants. The antioxidants protect our cells and organs from the effects of free radicals. Fruits and vegetables that are high in fiber and low in cholesterol are most likely to be high in antioxidants. Antioxidants fight diseases such as cancer, delay the effects of aging and protect against heart disease.
Benefits of Antioxidants for our Health
There are lots of antioxidants in the foods that we consume. Vitamin A, C, and E, beta-carotene, lutein and lycopene are all antioxidants. All of these antioxidants play a prominent role in our physical and mental health. Eating fruits, vegetables and meats that are rich in antioxidants can boost our cardiovascular health, improve our vision and even enhance our immune system. It can also improve our cognitive health and thanks to Vitamin E, wards off depression. Antioxidants also prevent the risk of some particular types of cancer, heart disease and diabetes. They can also play a significant role in skin and hair health. They also contain properties that can delay aging. Free radicals are the reason for cell damage and inflammation that can lead to wrinkles and age spots.
Vitamin C and Vitamin E are antioxidants that can help treat acne. Vitamin C reduces inflammation that can lead to acne, while Vitamin E helps with the skin cell growth in treating acne scars. Just like our skin, our hair is always exposed to sunlight and pollution that leads to degradation. By eating right, we can prevent hair loss caused by oxidative stress. Finally, they help lower your blood pressure significantly. Remember though, even if antioxidants help with the maintenance of our body, high doses of some specific antioxidants can lead to complications. Proper consumption of antioxidants is all up to us. This includes which foods we eat and which supplements we chose to take.
Foods that are Rich in Antioxidants:
From smallest to biggest, foods contain a variety of antioxidants. Each antioxidant has their own role in how they can help our body. Some can help in preventing diseases, some can improve our mental health and there are some that can enhance the condition of our skin. Fruits, vegetables and meats of all different types contain their own respective antioxidants. Each one benefits our health and daily life.
Here are Ten Foods that are Rich in Antioxidants:
- Leafy greens
- Dark chocolate
Legumes are a leguminous plant. The fruit of such plants include red kidney beans or black beans. Legumes can prevent cell damage, fight specific diseases and delay the effects of aging.
Leafy greens like spinach, cabbage and broccoli are also a good source of antioxidants. Leafy greens prevent the risks of some specific types of cancer and protect our bones.
Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries or raspberries are all sweet and delicious snacks that most people loved to eat. Berries contain omega fatty acids and can be a potent anti-inflammatory substance.
Dark chocolate is one of the potent source of antioxidants, not only it can lower your blood pressure but can also reduce the risk of heart disease. Dark chocolate can also rejuvenate your skin. Chocolate is not just addicting but also healthy. Just don’t overdo it!
Would you like a cup of tea? Not only is it beneficial for it’s calming properties but it’s also rich in flavonoids and polyphenols. Polyphenols function as a blocker for enzymes that cancer needs for growth.
Pecans are a type of nut that have a high amount of antioxidants, healthy fats and minerals. Pecans can also increase the blood antioxidant levels.
Artichoke is one of the best sources of minerals and dietary fibers. It also contains chlorogenic acid that can reduce the risks of specific heart disease, cancers and even diabetes.
Containing lots of antioxidants such as vitamins A, K and C, quercetin, kaempferol, beta-carotene and various flavonoids and polyphenols, kale is one of the leafy greens that are good for you. In fact it is so good for you we gave it its own write-up. The red variety of kale is much better because it contains twice as many antioxidants than the regular type of kale.
Beets are root crops that are high in fiber, potassium, iron and betalains. A beetroot can help suppress inflammation and can relieve the pain from osteoarthritis.
Finally apples contain phytochemicals and epidemiological antioxidants. They reduce the risks of cancer, cardiovascular disease, asthma and diabetes. That’s why they say “An apple a day, keeps the doctor away.”
By eating our recommended daily allowance of these foods, we can lower our chance of developing complications like cancers, heart disease and even cognitive illnesses. Being disciplined when doing your exercise and maintaining a proper and healthy diet can reduce risks of diseases even further.