We often heard about antioxidant foods for skin health, heart health but have you ever thought what it exactly means? You have been told that these are good for your health and protect your heart from various issues. Let’s understand some basics about antioxidants.
What are antioxidants?
Antioxidants are compounds produced by our bodies or can get it from certain foods. They help to delay or prevent cell injuries in your body caused by free radicles. Free radicles are harmful molecules when it enters our blood it may cause oxidative stress. Oxidative stress can increase your risk of getting chronic diseases like diabetes, cancer, heart diseases. These free radicles may also damage your DNA and other cells.
Antioxidants present in our blood plasma or cell membrane. It also presents certain vitamins and minerals such as vitamins A, E, K, and C, copper, zinc, iodine, and manganese. Certain proteins like glutathione and alpha-lipoic acid. Phytochemicals like quercetin, carotenoids, zeaxanthin, ellagic acid, flavonoids also have good amounts of antioxidants in them.
Antioxidant-rich foods and their benefits
Antioxidants are found in certain foods that prevent the damage caused by free radicals by neutralizing them. Here we enlisted some of the most powerful antioxidant foods –
1: Dark chocolates
Good news for chocolate lovers! Dark chocolate is very nutritious as it is packed with cocoa, minerals, and antioxidants. It is one of the foods which has the highest amount of antioxidant. They contain cocoa flavanols which are potent antioxidants that protect your skin from the sun. It also has an anti-inflammatory property which regulates the blood pressure and lowers the risk of heart disease. Before buying, make sure that it should contain at least 70% cocoa.
Blueberries are small in size but are huge in antioxidants and vitamin C with low calories. Many studies revealed that blueberry contains the highest amount of antioxidants among all fruits and vegetables. Blueberries improve brain function, lowers blood pressure, and cholesterol levels. Blueberries contain anthocyanins that may help reduce the risk of heart disease.
Strawberries are the sweetest and delicious, red fruit with full antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins. Similar to blueberries it also contains anthocyanins. The brighter red a strawberry is, the higher would be the anthocyanin levels. It protects your heart by reducing bad cholesterol levels and raising good cholesterol levels. It also protects your healthy cells from many cancers.
This green, leafy vegetable is a power-pack of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, iron, and fibers. It contains two excellent antioxidants – Zeaxanthin and lutein that improve your eye-sight problem. It also plays an important role in age-related macular degeneration.
5: Red cabbage
It is also known as purple cabbage contains a high amount of antioxidants and vitamin A, C, K. It strengthens the immune system and paves the way for healthy, glowing skin. Red cabbage-like strawberries contain anthocyanins. It acts as an anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, promotes weight loss, and prevent heart diseases.
Kale is one of the nutritious vegetables loaded with various vitamins, antioxidants, and calcium. Red kale is more potent than regular kale for good bone health.
Tomatoes are the essential vegetable from our kitchen. Beyond that, it is rich in antioxidants and vitamin A and C. cooked tomatoes contain a high amount of lycopene which lowers the risk of heart attacks and also improves your skin.
Beets are root vegetables that contain antioxidants called betalains. Betalains may help to prevent colon cancer and digestive issues. Beets are also a source of dietary fiber, iron, folate, and potassium. These substances may help to suppress inflammation.
9: Green tea
Green tea is commonly used for weight loss but its uses are beyond that as it is high in antioxidants. It contains a large amount of catechin which prevents the cell damage. Green tea has a protective effect against oxidative damage that leads to the development of cancer.
Pecans are a great source of minerals, fibers, and antioxidants. Eating raw pecans increase antioxidants levels in the blood to decrease the oxidized bad cholesterol.
Antioxidants are the compound which is the form in your body as well as found in certain foods. Eating antioxidant-rich foods can help your body to fight against harmful free radicles. Hence, eating healthy food can boost your antioxidant levels and helps you to fight against some dangerous diseases.