Making your heart happy, waistline slim, and brain sharp, antioxidants are a must. Many foods are rich in different types of antioxidants and you will definitely need such to keep healthy. Which foods are these?
Antioxidants are compounds found in the body and originating from plants. Different have different or similar antioxidants, whose potencies may also vary slightly or widely. Antioxidants are required to fight oxidative stress. When metabolism takes place, potentially dangerous molecules called free radicals are produced, and when these accumulate in the body, they result in a state called oxidative stress. Oxidative stress can be harmful and can stir negative reactions in the cells. When oxidative stress becomes chronic, chronic diseases set in. such diseases include diabetes type 2, cancer, and heart disease. Dive into this article to know which foods are high in antioxidants and incorporate them into your diet to reduce your risk for chronic diseases.
These are powerful fruits although they are only small in size. They pack minerals and vitamins yet they are great sources of antioxidants, such as anthocyanins. Because of their great nutritional profile, blueberries have joined the league of superfoods, and for every good reason. They have many roles, including safeguarding the heart from the risk of heart disease, boosting brain functionality and improving cognitive abilities, and keeping the bones strong. In fact, the American Journal for Clinical Nutrition published one study that showed a 12-15% reduction in heart disease risk after participants took a cup of blueberry for six months.
ii. Dark chocolate
Surprisingly, dark chocolate has many antioxidants, even more than what raspberries and blueberries have. One method for measuring this is determining the FRAP (ferric reducing ability of plasma) value, which shows the potency and antioxidants in food. The FRAP analysis shows that dark chocolate has 15mmol of antioxidants per 100g, whereas raspberries have 2.3mmol/100g, and blueberries have 9.2mmol/100g. The bioactive compounds in cocoa (as found in most dark chocolate with 70-85% cocoa) can reduce the risk of heart disease. This is through two mechanisms; increasing the production of nitric acid which facilitates vasodilation, and reducing the reaction between free radicals and LDL to make oxidized LDL which can damage the heart linings.
Just like. other green leafy vegetables, broccoli has many nutritional benefits and is treated as a nutritional powerhouse. Broccoli is rich in phenolics, a group of compounds not found in many plants. Phenolics are rich in anti-cancer properties and are antioxidants in nature. They can battle inflammation, reduce the risk and progression of cancer, and fight many other chronic illnesses.
There are many healthy nuts and seeds, and pecans are an example. These nuts are rich in fats and many minerals which, in turn, pack many antioxidants. The FRAP analysis of pecans reveals that the nuts have 10.2mmol antioxidants per 100g, making them as potent as cocoa and dark chocolate. Pecans are good for the heart, as one study showed that consuming them raises blood antioxidants in a short period. Besides, they reduce the oxidation of LDL by 26-33% only 2-8hours after consuming them. Ensure you take pecans in moderation. This is because as much as they are highly nutritious, they come with a full pack of calories and can lead to unnecessary weight gain.
These are yet other rich sources of vitamin C and antioxidants. The FRAP analysis of strawberries reveals 5.4mmol antioxidants per 100g. In addition, they possess anthocyanins, which are anti-oxidative. The redder the berries, the more anthocyanins there are. Anthocyanins can lower down the risk of getting heart disease by reducing the oxidation of LDL. About ten studies were reviewed, and all showed that after taking anthocyanin supplements, the number of oxidized LDL in people with LDL levels and those with heart disease substantially went down.
vi. Goji berries
Goji berries are among the many plants the traditional medicine, including Chinese, has used for a long time to alleviate different conditions. The berries are rich in vitamins and minerals and have thus been labeled as superfoods. Lycium barbum polysaccharides are antioxidants found in goji berries, which have many health benefits, including reduced skin aging and cancer progression and reduction. In addition, studies have shown that taking goji berries, say in drinks, will ultimately add on to the antioxidants present in the blood. The main challenge with goji berries is that they are expensive and thus eating them regularly can be a challenge.
Taking of traditional remedy plants, artichokes would never miss out on the list. These vegetables are rich in minerals, antioxidants, and fibers, hence the great nutritional value they have. Chlorogenic aid is the common type of antioxidant found in artichokes, which also have anti-cancer properties, thus reducing the risk of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes type 2. Cooking practices have a bearing on antioxidants. While frying the vegetables will trim down the antioxidants, steaming them will heighten the antioxidants by 15times and boiling will raise them by 8times.
These berries are rich in manganese, fiber, antioxidants, minerals, and vitamin C. Like other berries, raspberries have anthocyanins, which give them color and still possess anti-oxidative properties. Studies have shown that these antioxidants can be effective at reducing inflammation and oxidative stress in cells, helping manage many chronic illnesses. Still, test-tube studies have shown that antioxidants in raspberries could kill 90% of most cancer cells, include stomach and colon.
Because of their calcium contents, kales are good for bone health. These veggies are also rich in vitamins A, C, and K. the FRAP analysis shows that kales, just like cauliflowers, are high in antioxidants and have about 2.7mmol per 100. Red kales such as the Russian red kale and redbor have an intense red color. This means that they have more anthocyanins, giving them a FRAP value of 4.1mmol/100g kales.
Besides containing potassium, folate, and iron, beet vegetables are rich in antioxidants. Their reddish color is linked to the betalain antioxidant in them, which also possesses anti-cancer properties. Several test-tube studies revealed that taking beetroots reduced a person’s predisposition to digestive and colon cancer. What’s more, betalain can help with inflammation and chronic pain as in osteoarthritis, just as has been revealed by studies.
If you want a green leafy vegetable that’s nutritious yet low in calories, spinach will not miss out on your list. Having lutein and zeaxanthin, spinach helps with eye health. The antioxidants fight the free radicals, preventing the development and progression of macular degeneration and cataracts.
Besides being rich in fibers and proteins thus suiting digestion and causing feelings of fulness, beans have a high FRAP value of 0.9mmol/100g serving. What’s more, kaempferol is an antioxidant found in some beans such as pinto. Test-tube studies have shown that kaempferol can help reduce the risk of lung, breast, bladder, and colon cancer.
The body needs antioxidants for our well-being. These are potent compounds that fight free radicals and the chronic state called oxidative stress. This way, the risk of many chronic diseases, including diabetes and cancer is reduced. Learn from this article the foods that are rich in antioxidants.