High Antioxidant FoodsWhat are antioxidants?
There’s a good chance that you’ve heard the term ‘antioxidant’ before and you’ll probably know that foods high in antioxidants have a positive effect on your health and well being. This page is going to talk about high antioxidant foods and will explain where you can get these valuable antioxidants from for your diet. As well as our list of antioxidant rich foods we also explain the benefits of eating high antioxidant foods and will also answer the question ‘what are antioxidants?’
What are antioxidants?
Firstly, the dictionary states that, ‘antioxidants are a substance such as vitamin C or vitamin E that removes potentially damaging oxidizing agents in a living organism.’
Perhaps the right question to ask though is ‘what do antioxidants do’? When we say that antioxidants remove potentially damaging oxidizing agents, this means that they are preventing something called ‘free radicals’ which can be produced when oxidization occurs. Free radicals can, for example, cause cancer, so clearly it’s a good idea to make sure that we have plenty of high antioxidant foods in our diet.
Put simply though, antioxidants are chemicals that are both man made and natural that can prevent cell damage. And it may surprise you to know that antioxidants are not actually a substance but they can really be described as either a process or a behaviour! This probably seems a little confusing, however the truth is, we are still learning about antioxidants in foods.
What is clear though is that high antioxidant foods help cleanse out body and so it very important to ensure that we have a good intake of antioxidant rich foods.
List of AntioxidantsAntioxidants and their benefits
- Vitamin C can aid tissue growth and repair, boost adrenal gland function, and speed wound healing.
- Vitamin E may help prevent or delay coronary heart disease.
- Research suggests that Selenium may have a preventive effect against cancer.
- Studies seem to show that Zinc reduces the risk of infections, and it is used worldwide to prevent diarrhea in children.
- Uric acid is believed to modify the action of some enzymes and thus prevent free radicals forming.
- Lipoic acid
- Lycopene may help protect against heart disease.
- Anthicynadins boost blood vessel health.
- Isoflavones help with bone health, reduce joint inflammation, and may help lower cholesterol.
- Beta carotene aids the immune system and vision and aids skin and bone health.
- Furthermore carotenoids are believed to help prevent eye disease.
It is possible to get the antioxidants that you need by eating high antioxidant foods, and others will be synthesized naturally in your body. As you can see from the above list, two of the essential vitamins, C and E, that our diet requires will also provide antioxidants. We hope that this section has answered the question ‘what are antioxidants?’
List of antioxidant rich foods
High Antioxidant foods are essential for our well being, so in this section we’re going to provide you with a list of antioxidant rich foods. Make sure that you get plenty of these into your diet on a regular basis.
- Acai berries
- Artichokes – good for beta-carotene
- Beans – Broad / Pinto / Soy
- Blueberries – a good source of anthocynadins
- Broccoli – for beta-carotene and vitamin C
- Brussel sprouts
- Carrots – a source of beta-carotene and lutein, which helps lower the risk of developing cataracts – maybe this is the source of the old wives’ tale that carrots help you see in the dark!
- Cayenne peppers
- Dark chocolate
- Green tea
- Pecan nuts
- Red cabbage
- Red grapes
- Spinach – a great source of beta-carotene
- Walnuts – high in vitamin E
The benefits of Antioxidants and High Antioxidant Foods.
Where do we start when it comes to the benefits of high antioxidant foods? We mentioned earlier that antioxidants work in every single cell in the human body, and this means that a vast amount of health problems respond to them. As well as preventing free radicals in the body, they promote the growth of healthy cells and also protect existing cells against early aging. One very important benefit of antioxidants and high antioxidant foods is that they help to maintain a strong and healthy immune system. This in turn means that the body is better at fighting off all sorts of illnesses and diseases.
Studies have shown that the benefits of antioxidants include the helping to prevent several degenerative diseases. These are generally assumed as being part and parcel of aging, but research suggests that antioxidants in foods may be able to help counteract this.
These degenerative diseases include:
- Heart disease
- Immune system failure
- Macular degeneration
Antioxidants are also widely renowned for helping with slowing down the signs of aging by reducing wrinkles and helping to keep the skins natural glow.
It is really easy to get all of the antioxidants that you need by eating foods high in antioxidants. Of course you can take supplements to get the vitamins and minerals that you need. However, there is no better way to get nutrition and antioxidants than through the natural foods in your diet. The majority of thse in the above list are fruits and vegetables that grow from the earth and are not processed in any way.
It’s no coincidence that natural foods really are the healthiest that you can eat. So in conclusion, if you want to get the best antioxidant benefits and give your immune system the best chance of fighting everything from simple illnesses to more serious degenerative disease, particularly as you get older, it is vital that you eat plenty of high antioxidants foods.