Antioxidants are compounds that are found in one’s body as well as in many fruits and vegetables. Their chief functions include protecting our body’s cells from free radical damage. This, in turn, prevents premature aging and various chronic diseases. In fact, if the levels of free radicals in one’s body go unchecked, these unstable molecules can accumulate, thereby inducing a state known as oxidative stress. It can potentially wreak havoc on one’s DNA and other structures of cells, thereby increasing the risk of chronic diseases such as cancer, Type 2 diabetes, and severe heart disease. Interestingly, one of the means to measure the levels of antioxidant content in foods is the FRAP (Ferric Reducing Ability of Plasma) Test. The higher the FRAP value, the better it is.
Types of antioxidants and how they work
The most appropriate way to classify antioxidants is to understand whether they are water-soluble, fat-soluble or both fat and water-soluble. Those that are water-soluble work to fight with the free radicals present in the blood plasma. Fat-soluble ones fight the free radicals present in the cell membrane. Antioxidants are present in certain vitamins and minerals so consuming these on a regular basis can prove to be highly fruitful. Vitamins A, E, K, and C, copper, zinc, iodine, and manganese are rich sources of antioxidants. Certain proteins like glutathione and alpha-lipoic acid also contain them. Phytochemicals like quercetin, lycopene, carotenoids, zeaxanthin, ellagic acid, flavonoids, and lutein also have good amounts of antioxidants in them. Additionally, some hormones, like melatonin, also exhibit antioxidant-like properties.
All these work either by stopping the oxidative process before it starts (preventive action) while others are neutralizing the effect of the free radicals (chain-breaking action). Those antioxidants that work in either of these two processes are known as Direct Antioxidants since they engage indirectly working on free radicals.
These 4 anti-oxidant foods included in the diet, will reduce weight :
When it comes to weight loss, you must have heard many times about the benefits of green tea. Green tea contains many antioxidants that help you in weight loss. One such antioxidant is caffeine that works to keep you full. So next time you want a snack, just grab a green tea.
Nuts are rich in antioxidants and they also contain a lot of healthy fat, which keeps your stomach full for a long time. Nuts are good for your heart too and you can keep your heart healthy by eating them in moderation. However, keep in mind that they are high in calories, so eat only a handful of nuts every day.
is a versatile food that can be used with everything and makes it taste great. From omelets to pizzas and sandwiches, it can add flavor to any dish. However, keeping the taste aspect aside, spinach has high amounts of antioxidants called camphor phenol and quercetin. Camphor phenol exerts an anti-cancer effect on the body, whereas quercetin helps protect our body from cardiac and pulmonary disorders.
According to several studies, blueberries contain the highest amounts of antioxidants amongst all common fruits and vegetables. They have up to 9.2 mmol(millimoles) per 100 grams of the product. Some of the health benefits of consuming blueberries include prevention of brain damage that occurs in old age, reducing blood pressure, lowering low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels as well as decreasing the risk of certain heart diseases. All this is possible due to a type of antioxidant called anthocyanin that is present in blueberries.
Strawberries consist of high amounts of Vitamin C and antioxidants. Like blueberries, they too contain reasonable levels of the antioxidant anthocyanin. It is rarely found in other food items. The brighter red a strawberry is, the higher would be the anthocyanin levels. A FRAP analysis suggests that strawberries have 5.4 mmol per 100 grams of it. Do include this fruit in your diet for it reduces LDL cholesterol levels as well as the risk of severe heart problems.
Often doctors recommend intake of beans to patients owing to its high nutritional value. They are incredibly high in fiber, and amongst vegetables, they are the best source of antioxidants. An antioxidant called kaempferol is found in considerable amounts in beans which aids in the prevention of cancer and chronic inflammation. Various animal studies have found that kaempferol suppresses the growth of kidneys, bladder and lung cancer. A bonus of eating beans is that it helps to regulate bowel movements as well.
Dark chocolate contains 15 mmol of antioxidants in every 100 g. It is amongst the highest amounts of antioxidants present in various fruits and vegetables. Since it contains more cocoa, eating dark chocolate also reduces inflammation, regulates blood pressure and lowers the risk of numerous heart diseases. Additionally, its consumption also raises HDL cholesterol levels. It also prevents the oxidation of LDL cholesterol. So, eat a little dark chocolate every day. It will certainly satisfy your taste buds and offer many health benefits too!
Eat the above-mentioned foods, and you won’t have to rely on antioxidant dietary supplements ever. Remember to include colourful fruits and vegetables, that are rich in antioxidants, in your diet. The inclusion of these in your diet can fulfil the requirement of antioxidants in the body.