Generally speaking, most of us know that antioxidants are good for us (that’s certainly been drilled in), but do you actually know what antioxidants are, what they do, and where you can find them?
1. How Do Antioxidants Work?
Let’s start by covering the basics and learning how these powerful substances work. If you break down the word antioxidants you get anti (against) oxidants (oxidation), meaning that antioxidants are substances that prevent cell damage.
2. What are Antioxidants?
Antioxidants help to prevent and reverse cellular damage. There are two primary types of antioxidants, those created inside our bodies and those obtained outside the body through diet. Vitamin C is the most abundant water-soluble antioxidant in the body while vitamin E is the most abundant fat-soluble antioxidant in the body. Together these substances (along with many others) help to defend against cellular damage caused by oxidation which can lead to serious and long-term health problems.
3.Where Can You Get Them?
While the body produces some of these substances itself, it’s important to obtain the rest of the necessary antioxidants from a healthy diet. Let’s take a look at some of the foods that have the highest antioxidant properties…
BERRIES – in order : 1) goji berries 2) wild blueberries 3) elderberries 4) cranberries 5) blackberries
After learning this information, you’ve never had a better reason to get those berries into your morning smoothie!
DARK CHOCOLATE – Have you ever seen someone binging on chocolate and heard them say “It’s ok, it’s full of antioxidants” ? Well technically this is true, as long as we’re talking about the dark stuff. Dark chocolate has more antioxidant properties than many fruits and vegetables including blueberries and acai berries. So the next time you feel guilty when you’re craving chocolate, cut yourself some slack. A few pieces of dark chocolate after dinner satisfies the sweet tooth and provides a super shot of antioxidant power.
PECANS – You probably know that nuts have a ton of beneficial heart healthy fats, but you may not be aware that some nuts are also high in antioxidant nutrients as well. They have a higher antioxidant concentration than a lot of fruits and vegetables out there and they are the number one nut for antioxidant levels. They’re also naturally sodium free, contain more than 19 vitamins and minerals and a one-ounce serving of these nuts provides 10 percent of your recommended daily fiber.
ARTICHOKES – If artichokes are merely an unusual pizza topping or tasty dip ingredient in your world, you’re missing out on one heck of an antioxidant-packed superfood.
BEANS – This may come as a bit of a surprise, but there are several varieties of beans that are super rich in antioxidants. Specifically, small red beans, kidney beans, and pintos all rank highly.
HERBS & SPICES – Herbs and spices have been praised for centuries and are even used as medicinal compounds in many cultures, and with good reason. Now you can add antioxidants to the growing list of the many benefits of dried herbs and spices. Some have a higher concentration of antioxidant compounds than others however, like ground cloves. Next highest is dried oregano , followed by dried rosemary. Herbs and spices have some of the highest antioxidant properties of all.
Can we have too many antioxidants?
Like anything in life, we have to strike a balance. Never go overboard. Even too much exercise is not good for us. There always has to be a balance. The same applies to antioxidant foods.
Age-related benefits – You’ve likely heard the term antioxidant used in conjunction with beauty products—particularly when it comes to age-fighting moisturizers and creams. Vitamin E, beta carotene, Vitamin E, and selenium are all powerful antioxidants used often in age-fighting face creams, help regenerate new, plump skin cells while preventing and repairing age-related damage to skin (i.e., fine lines and crow’s feet).
Eating food rich in antioxidants, like nuts, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and green tea, adds to your body-producing antioxidant stores and adds a line of further protection against age-related conditions—such as cataracts, macular degeneration, brain-related illnesses like dementia, heart disease, and cancer.
Well , I hope you have learnt a little from this post ? I certainly did whilst I was doing the research.
Be healthy everyone !