From energizing bowls of acai and smooth dark chocolate to creamy kale salads And perfectly roasted sweet potatoes, colorful plant foods have one thing in common: antioxidants. Antioxidants, which are abundant in many of our daily staples, reign supreme. They are essential for the survival of all living things. They are fundamental to our well-being, as well as B12 vitamin other iron.
Although we generate our own antioxidants, we also need to consume them. Our body’s cells naturally produce powerful antioxidants, such as glutathione, but the foods we eat provide other antioxidants, such as vitamin C and E. Between what the body produces and what nature provides, we get the best of both. worlds.
So what are free radicals?
When we talk about antioxidants, free radicals are involved. You will often hear that to fight free radicals, antioxidants are key. So what exactly are they?
Free radicals are highly reactive and unstable molecules. They are formed when molecules (or atoms) gain or lose electrons. In turn, free radicals can easily react with other molecules. As you can guess, these unpaired electrons don’t like to be alone. They look for an electron in the body to pair with. When antioxidants are available, they intervene. Antioxidants stabilize free radicals, stopping any further damage to the body.
Despite getting a bad rap, we naturally produce free radicals; they are a byproduct of metabolism and exercise, for example. The problem is when we have a large amount of free radicals. When we have too many for the body to regulate, a condition known as oxidative stress happens. Oxidative stress can be caused by many factors, including chronic inflammation, smoking, pesticides, radiation, and industrial chemicals. Fortunately, that’s where antioxidants come to the rescue.
What are antioxidants?
Antioxidants are chemicals that help prevent or limit the damage caused by free radicals. They reduce the wear and tear of cells caused by oxidative stress. As antioxidants balance free radicals, these free radicals are much less likely (or totally unable) to cause damage to other cells. Generally speaking, antioxidants are powerful compounds that keep our immune systems running strong. They are everyday superheroes.
Why do we need antioxidants?
Because antioxidants have the ability to protect the body’s cells against free radicals, we need them to optimize our well-being. Given their ability to neutralize free radicals, antioxidants improve overall health. Also, they can potentially prevent certain diseases. Research is ongoing to investigate the role of antioxidants in lowering the risk of develop cancerBut eating foods high in vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene can help healthy cell growth.
The most important antioxidants
Of the hundreds (possibly thousands) of different substances that can act as antioxidants, the best known are vitamin A, C, E, beta-carotene, lutein, selenium, and manganese. These come in the form of food and supplements.—Peppers, oranges, avocados, carrots, Brazil nuts, etc. These substances are joined by other compounds known in the world of well-being: coenzyme Q10, lipoic acid, flavonoids, polyphenols, phytoestrogens and more.
What makes a food rich in antioxidants?
In addition to the body’s innate ability to control free radicals, a diet rich in antioxidants is an additional layer of defense. To think: Eating the rainbow. Plant foods are abundant in a variety of vitamins and minerals, including antioxidants that boost the immune system. These include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, herbs, and spices. Those with substantial levels of Vitamin A, C, E, beta-carotene, lutein, selenium, and / or manganese are considered antioxidant-rich foods.
Specifically, garlic, leeks, sweet potatoes, bell peppers, broccoli, walnuts, walnuts, and berries are rich sources of antioxidants. When thinking about making your breakfast, lunch, and dinner, try choosing the rainbow: red, orange, deep yellow, dark green, and purple leafy greens. When possible, buy organic products to limit additional exposure to chemicals and pesticides.
Antioxidants as part of a healthy diet
When it comes to getting enough antioxidants every day, think about adding as many colors to your plate as possible. There is not necessarily a target amount for antioxidants, and each person has their own unique needs, but eating a variety of plants throughout the day is beneficial. Making a smoothie For breakfast salad greens for lunch and a grain bowl for dinner it will certainly include a lot of antioxidants. Fortunately, red wine and coffee count too. In fact, coffee It is one of the largest sources of antioxidants in the American diet.
13 foods rich in antioxidants:
- Flower beds
- Dark chocolate
- Goji Berries
- Purple cabbage
- Purple grapes
Artichokes–May lower bad cholesterol
Artichokes are especially rich in the antioxidant known as chlorogenic acid. Studies suggest that the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits of chlorogenic acid may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. However, the antioxidant content of artichokes can vary, depending on how they are prepared. For example, boiling artichokes can increase their antioxidant content eight times, and steaming them can increase it 15 times.
Prescription: Artichoke and pea crostini
Flower beds–It can protect the liver from inflammation.
Do beets (and beet juice) contain? antioxidants, vitamin A, vitamin B-6 and iron. These compounds help protect the liver from inflammation and oxidative stress while enhancing its ability to remove toxins from the body. Beets are particularly rich in a group of antioxidants called betalains. These give the beet its reddish color.
Prescription: Roasted beets with citrus by Love and Lemons
Wild blueberries–It can directly increase the levels of antioxidants in the body.
One of the highestn antioxidant levels of all common fruits and vegetables, blueberries (specifically, wild blueberries) are rich in anthocyanin, a flavonoid with powerful antioxidant capacity. The king of antioxidants, wild blueberries have twice as many antioxidants as common blueberries. With high levels of polyphenols, wild blueberries protect the body against inflammation.
Prescription: Healthy Blueberry Cobbler by Erin Lives Whole
Carrots–May improve heart health
Carrots have two main types of antioxidants: Carotenoids and anthocyanins. Carotenoids give carrots their orange and yellow colors, while anthocyanins are responsible for the red and purple coloration. These antioxidants are known to support heart and eye health.
Prescription: Roasted carrot summer rolls by Naturally Ella
Dark chocolate–May lower blood pressure
Dark chocolate is loaded with organic compounds that are biologically active and function as antioxidants. These include polyphenols, flavonoids, and catechins, among others. Some research suggests that dark chocolate may help reduce the risk of heart disease, reduce inflammation and insulin resistance, and improve brain function.
Prescription: Easy Chocolate Avocado Pudding when making thyme for health
Goji Berries–May support the immune system
Goji Berries’ The purported benefits range from anti-aging effects to glucose regulation and support for immune function.. Goji berries contain large amounts of vitamins A and C, similarly, to other berries, such as blueberries and raspberries. Vitamins A and C are vital for building immunity and preventing illnesses, ranging from the common cold to chronic illnesses.
Prescription: Vanilla balls and goji berries by Running On Real Food
kale–It can counteract oxidative stress.
Kale, like other green leafy vegetables, is very rich in antioxidants. These include beta-carotene and vitamin C, as well as various flavonoids and polyphenols. OROne cup of chopped kale provides more than the recommended daily allowance of vitamins A, C, and K.
Prescription: Delicata Squash and Kale Salad
pecans–It can enhance the body’s immune response.
In addition to feeling energetic and satiated, nuts (such as walnuts, almonds, etc.) are rich in vitamin A. In fact, research shows that walnuts rank highest, of any nut, in terms of their capacity. antioxidant. It only takes about an ounce (or about 8 nuts) to get its nutritional and antioxidant benefits.
Prescription: Pecan butter cookies by Joy Filled Eats
Purple cabbage–May protect against heart disease.
Purple cabbage, along with other dark-colored products, is loaded with phytochemicals, antioxidants that can help protect against heart disease. Two of those phytochemicals, anthocyanin and proanthocyanidin, can help your immune system.
Prescription: Purple cabbage and carrot salad by Cook At Home Mom
Spinach–May improve digestion
Fresh spinach leaves They are a beneficial source of vital antioxidants, such as vitamin A, vitamin C, and antioxidant flavonoids such as lutein, zeaxanthin, and beta-carotene. Of all the green leafy vegetables, like kale, spinach is one of the most nutritionally dense vegetables.
Prescription: Spinach and blackberry salad
Strawberries–It can help maintain healthy vision.
Along with other berries, strawberries are loaded with polyphenols. They are an excellent source of vitamin C and manganese. Strawberries are also high in antioxidants, potentially beneficial for heart health, vision, and blood sugar regulation. In fact, the antioxidant properties of strawberries can help prevent cataracts.
Prescription: Baked Oatmeal with Strawberry and Banana eating bird food
Walnuts–It can lower risk factors for heart disease.
Many health benefits associated with walnuts, such as reducing inflammation and improving heart disease.These risk factors are due to its high content of omega-3 and antioxidant compounds. Its antioxidant levels are particularly high in the papery skin of walnuts, which contain vitamin E, melatonin, and polyphenols.
Prescription: Coconut Maple Walnut Granola by Ahead of Thyme