What are antioxidants anyway? Antioxidants are substances that prevent oxidative damage, a process which can generate chain reactions and free radicals in cells and lead to their death. Free radicals are unstable molecules that attack other molecules by oxidation and can cause harm to DNA and cell membranes. Researchers have identified over 200 antioxidants that have different actions in cell membranes and DNA. Some antioxidants are “antithrombin” molecules that attach to oxidized proteins and DNA and stop them from damaging the membrane. Other antioxidants are “anti-inflammatory” molecules which interfere with inflammatory processes such as pain signals or inflammation.
Several types of antioxidants are found in most plant foods. Vitamin A is one of the most common antioxidants found in plant foods. Beta carotene, another common antioxidant, is a powerful free radical inhibitor. Several other antioxidants have been studied for health benefits.
Vegetables and fruits are a rich source of antioxidants. The best sources of antioxidants are fruits and vegetables. Oatmeal is an excellent source of vitamins A, C, and E, all of which are powerful antioxidants. Many fruits contain significant amounts of antioxidants. Green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, kale, and cabbage are particularly high in antioxidants.
Some of the best sources of antioxidants are nuts. However, eating too much nuts or eating the wrong kind of nuts can be harmful. The best sources of antioxidants are unsalted, raw nuts; walnuts, peanuts, almonds, cashews, and Brazil nuts.
Oxidized fats are the primary components of oxidized cholesterol. To prevent the formation of plaque in arteries, people need to reduce their intake of saturated fats and increase their consumption of nuts, seeds, and leafy greens. Resveratrol is a powerful antioxidant. It has been found in many natural foods, including red wine, peanuts, blueberries, grapes, and cranberries. Resveratrol has anti-inflammatory and heart disease properties.
Acai berries are another source of antioxidants. Acai berries are fast growing fruits that are packed with antioxidants. The best sources of antioxidants are berries, dark green leafy vegetables, and nuts. Most people consume enough antioxidants in their diet to prevent the development of diseases like cancer. However, some people have difficulty absorbing antioxidants from foods, which is why antioxidant supplements may be recommended.
Vitamin C and E are considered the best sources of antioxidants. Other foods that are high in antioxidants are dark green leafy vegetables, nuts, grapes, and cranberries. Foods high in fiber are also very good for our health. Legumes, whole grains, and seeds are high in antioxidants. When purchasing foods high in antioxidants, check the label for “antioxidant free” or “all natural antioxidants”. Avoid foods with added sugar as this can lead to obesity.
Besides fruits and vegetables, tea is also a great source of antioxidants. Oolong tea and green tea contain large amounts of antioxidants. Oolong tea is especially high in antioxidants called catechins. Green tea is also high in anthocyanins and other complex compounds that help fight infections.
Antioxidant-rich foods must also be eaten to keep your antioxidant levels high. The recommended amount of antioxidants you should eat on a daily basis varies according to how much of your body needs them. Although fruits and vegetables are considered the richest sources of antioxidants, they are not the only foods that are effective in reducing your risk of cancer and disease. Whole grains are also very beneficial. Eating plenty of green leafy vegetables, nuts, fruits, and whole grains can lower your risk of heart disease and cancer.
In the recent study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, a group of researchers from the University of California, Davis Department of Health Services, and the Center for Health and Nutrition Research, University of Munich, Germany, reviewed the literature on antioxidants. They did a meta-analysis of nine studies. They found that eating at least two servings of fruits and vegetables per day lowered your risk of stroke by 31%. Adding two servings of fish to your diet decreased your risk by 32%. The antioxidants found in these fruits and vegetables were able to reduce the oxidative damage caused by free radical molecules.
There may be as many as 1,000 different types of antioxidants, but there are two classifications according to how they cause damage. Antioxidants that are considered free radicals are known to be harmful to the health. Oxidative stress is known to play a role in many diseases including heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, and other degenerative diseases. However, antioxidants may play a key role in prevention of cancer and heart disease. They may also help prevent free radicals from damaging the DNA in our cells.
There are several nutrients in fruits and vegetables that are important in maintaining a healthy digestive system and an overall healthy body. A few of these are antioxidants such as lutein, lycopene, beta carotene, quercetin, lutein, resveratrol, and vitamin C. Each of these nutrients is important for a variety of different functions and may help you live a longer, healthier life. For more information on foods that have proven to be high in antioxidants, check out the links below. You can learn what fruits and vegetables are the most effective sources of antioxidants, and how consuming a diet rich in these foods can improve your health.