Top foods rich in Antioxidants

In this modern era, everyone is talking about being healthy by eating healthy. Eating foods is not enough but having foods full of nutrients is indeed much beneficial. People are more conscious about their daily intake and they try to include every nutrient in their diet i.e. not only vitamins, minerals, zinc and so on but also foods rich in antioxidants which contains higher amount of such agents.. But what really are antioxidants.




Antioxidants

An antioxidant is a molecule that inhibits the oxidation of other molecules. Oxidation is a chemical reaction that can produce free radicals, leading to chain reactions that may damage cells. Antioxidants such as thiols or ascorbic acid (vitamin C) terminate these chain reactions. Antioxidants protect against cell damage and can help fight diseases like cancer, heart disease, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Even our body’s normal procedure can produce some antioxidants to fight against the free radicals but it is not sufficient as per required by our body. So we need to obtain it through diet.  Antioxidants are mostly found in fruits, vegetables, animal products and grains. These are few products rich in antioxidants:

1. Broccoli

Image credit: addapinch.com
Image credit: addapinch.com

Broccoli contains cancer fighting phytochemicals like beta-carotene, indoles and isothiocyanates. Also it contains lots of minerals and vitamins. It has Vitamin C more than an orange and more calcium than a glass of milk. Besides these, it has anti-inflammatory nutrients; it can detoxify your body, support digestive system as well as cardiovascular system.

2. Green Tea

Image Credit: www.healthyfig.com
Image credit: www.healthyfig.com

Green tea is made from unfermented leaves so it has high concentration of catechin polyphenols. It is reported that it has 8-10 times higher polyphenols than in fruits and vegetables. This helps to increase fat oxidation and thermogenesis. Green tea is regarded to be highly effective in weight loss, if consumed regularly. It is also considered to prevent cancer, heart disease and high cholesterol.




3. Garlic

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Image credit: davidwolfe.com

Garlic is used as the strong but delicious flavoring agent in many dishes. It acts as natural antibiotics, antifungal and antiviral agent. It is beneficial in decreasing serum glucose, blood pressure, cholesterol and gastric level. It acts as the cancer blocker as it contains selenium which is cancer fighting mineral. It Garlic has been used in cosmetic products as well to strengthen your nails and hairs, toning and smoothing up your skin and many more.

4. Berries

Image credit: healthyfoodhouse.com
Image credit: healthyfoodhouse.com

Berries like Blueberry, cranberry, blackberry, raspberry, elderberry and strawberry all of them are super food enriched with high level of proanthocyanidins, phenols. They have lots of benefits like it helps to maintain cardiovascular health, boost immune system, balance blood sugar, protects skin from premature aging and much more.

5. Beans

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Image credit: homeguides.sfgate.com

Dried beans like small red bean, red kidney bean, pinto bean and black bean are enriched with high level of antioxidants and high in fiber.  These help in lowering the risk of breast cancer, the cholesterol level and blood sugar level as it contains phenolic antioxidants. Also they are rich in calcium so they are beneficial to bones and teeth.

 Besides beans, other legumes and pulses also provide antioxidants so sometimes you can include them as well in your diet for a change.

6. Tomatoes

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Image credit: letstalkagric.com

Tomatoes are enriched in lycopene which is an anticancer agent and is consider more powerful disease fighter than vitamin E and beta carotene. It is rich in water content and fiber and also contains mineral manganese and vitamin C. It is considered to decrease risk of chronic degenerative diseases, support cardiovascular system and bone health, reduces diabetes and reduces constipation as well. It repairs skin and maintain blood pressure. 

7. Nuts

Image credit: cure-naturali.it
Image credit: cure-naturali.it

Among all nuts, number one antioxidant is Walnut as it contains twice as many antioxidant polyphenols than other nuts. Walnuts contain ellagic acid which is strong antioxidants to fight against cancer. After walnuts, pecan, chestnuts, almond, pistachios and many other nuts provides high level of antioxidants.  It boosts your memory level and makes your brain healthy. It is also beneficial to heart health as it contains omega-3 fatty acid. It also helps in type 2 diabetes treatment, decrease risk of cancer, lower cholesterol and gallstone.  According to the report published by Harvard School in 2009, higher nut consumption was associated with a significantly lower risk of weight gain and obesity.

8. Fruits

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Image credit: 123rf.com

Colorful fruits like orange, red grape, artichoke heart, apple, cherry, prune, kiwi and more are rich in antioxidants. Always go for colors i.e. red, orange, brown, yellow, black, blue, and purple for high antioxidants. Fruits are rich source of different vitamins, have high fiber as well as act as cancer protector. Peaches, mango, orange, watermelon contains beta-cryptoxanthin antioxidants.  Cherry contains melatonin antioxidant stimulates new skin cell growth and also contains vitamin C. Prune contains high antioxidants than its fresh counterpart i.e. black plum.

9. Whole grains

Image credit: healthyfoodsecret.com
Image credit: healthyfoodsecret.com

Whole grains contain more powerful anti-inflammatory polyphenol antioxidants.  These are rich in fibers, vitamin E, phenolic and phytic acid, minerals and lignans as well. Whole grains are regarded as the sources of water-soluble, fat-soluble and insoluble antioxidants. These phytonutrients available in whole grains acts as the cardio protector.  Always use foods that are made from whole grains i.e. prefer whole wheat, oats, brown rice, brown bread, brown sugar, corn instead of processed and refined white flour, white rice, white bread, processed sugar.

10. Brown food

Image Credit: beanbox.co
Image credit: beanbox.co

Foods in brown family such as dark chocolate, cocoa, clove, coffee are also good source of antioxidants. Cocoa and dark chocolate contains flavonoids which prevent premature aging, prevent cardiovascular disease, protect skin and balance hormonal mood swing. Clove acts as the anti-fungal and antibacterial agent. It has high concentration of phenols. It is used in case of toothache, inflammation as well as also to improve sexual health. In other hand coffee helps to fight against obesity, protects retina and eyes, helps to prevent Alzheimer’s disease and fight against cancer and stroke as well.

In conclusion, include wide varieties of fruits, veggies, nuts, berries etc. in daily intake. There is popular saying; ‘Eat the rainbow’ i.e. eat foods with different colors as they are rich in antioxidants. Lastly seek for healthy organic foods.

References:




www.nlm.nih.gov

www.canadianliving.com

www.webmd.com

www.medicaldaily.com

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