Antioxidants- the word is everywhere! In magazines, in advertisements and you hear it frequently from the mouth of health experts. You’ve heard that antioxidant-rich food are so good that they are the solution for almost all the health problems that bother you. We all know that what is yummy for the taste buds are not necessarily healthy, cue - fried foods, processed food, and sugary drinks.
So long, you’ve paid attention to eating foods that are good for a specific organ of your body, like the heart or kidneys. Basically, food that would help better any health condition that you have. But what about food that will replenish any cell in your body? The answer to that is antioxidants. Okay, we are not just talking about broccoli or spinach here. There are antioxidant-rich food that are yummy too. Let’s begin by going through the basics of antioxidants.
Antioxidants in a layman’s terms.
Keeping all the jargon aside, what exactly are antioxidants? For answering this better. You need to know about free radicals first. We promise, we’ll keep it simple. Free radicals are produced as a result of normal body processes like digesting foods or processing sugars to release energy. Free radicals are also produced when the body tries to handle toxic chemicals or even medications. These free radicals are capable of putting oxidative stress on the body’s cells, proteins and even the DNA. If you visualize free radicals as the villains, then antioxidants are the super heroes that protect our body from the damaging effects of free radicals.
Avoiding free radicals is a close to impossible feat because free radicals are present even in the air that we breathe. You can’t totally stay clear of them. You can, however, reduce their negative effects by including more of antioxidants-rich food in your diet. Learn more about the foods that contains anti-oxidants.
Foods rich in antioxidants
Apart from being rich in Vitamin C and Vitamin K, tomatoes are rich in Lutein, lycopene, and beta-carotene. Did you know that cooking tomatoes can only increase its nutritive content? So, if you have a difficult time eating tomatoes in a salad, then don’t worry because sauces are even more nutritive that raw tomatoes.
Who knew chocolate had health benefits too? Apart from being yum, cocoa present in chocolate is a treasure trove of anti oxidants. Chocolate varieties that contain 70% cocoa are really good for your heart. Read more about the type of chocolates and their benefits right here.
Bell peppers apart from being colorful and aromatic, are rich in Vitamin C. In fact, they contain more Vitamin C than an orange. Red bell peppers have more Vitamin C than the green ones. So the next time you go shopping, be sure to include a few bell peppers on your shopping list.
Spinach is not just another green leafy vegetable. It is loaded with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. No wonder it is the superfood of our all-time favorite child hood here, Popeye! Apart from being incredibly nutritious, it is very low in calories making it a favorite food of weight watchers everywhere. Spinach is rich in lutein and zeaxanthin. These are powerful antioxidants that help protect your eyes.
This vegetable is probably the first one that comes to mind when we hear the word antioxidants. Broccoli made headlines in the recent years because of its cancer-fighting properties. Some antioxidants die down upon cooking. The heat tends to kill it. On the other hand, there are few, that increases its potency when cooked. Broccoli is rich in this type of antioxidants. So if cooking broccoli makes it more palatable, you can have it knowing full well that you are getting all your nutrients.
In general, almost all nuts are thought to be super healthy. Walnuts are certainly no exception. They are loaded with antioxidants and have the added benefits of containing omega-3 rich fatty acids and they are cholesterol free! Having about 1 or 2 walnuts every day can do your body a world of good.
When it comes to the most famous berry - we can all agree that it is the strawberry. Strawberry is known for its sweetness and has been adapted into various desserts, sauces, and even jams. These juicy treats have amazing healing properties that reduce cardiac disease risk by raising HDL cholesterol levels in the body. Strawberries also reduced the LDL levels in the body.