10 Antioxidant Rich Foods

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An antioxidant is any substance that that inhibits the oxidation of other molecules in our body, protecting our cells against the effect of free radicals. Oxidation reactions produce free radicals that in turn facilitate chain reactions. When these chain reactions occur in the cells of the human body, they destroy them or severely damage them, sometimes to the extent of causing cancer and heart ailments. Antioxidants help us by removing these free radicals from our body and therefore essential to healthy living.

A variety of food contains antioxidants in varying amounts. Foods that contain high levels of antioxidants are informally termed as Super foods. It is imperative to include antioxidant-rich food in our daily diets. The following is a list of foods that are rich in antioxidants.

10 Potatoes

potatoes

Yes, this omnipresent vegetable is a big source of antioxidants and therefore a regular source of antioxidants for most of us.  Carotenoids and Flavonoids, two major antioxidants, are present in the flesh of all potatoes. The russet potato is the best choice among all the varieties when it comes to antioxidant content. One cooked russet potato contains approximately 4649 antioxidant units. It is, however, significantly less that contained in a raw potato. So, all you fitness-freaks out there do not hesitate from including a potato dish in your meal next time; it will make you fit from the inside!

9 Garlic

garlic

It is perhaps the most well-known item in the basket of foods with a medicinal value. Some people love the flavour of garlic, others just cannot stand it; the benefits still remain. One of the most recent findings is that garlic increases the antioxidant levels in the human body in addition to exuding properties of antioxidants itself. Many garlic preparations are known to have antioxidants, especially the AGE that is Aged Garlic Extract. However, the presence of another compound in garlic, Raw garlic homogenate, has been reported to churn opposite biological effects at high doses and cause damage to the heart and kidney. Thus, it is important that garlic is consumed in the right quantity. Some researchers, however, do not subscribe to the claim that garlic has negative effects too and consider it a wonder-food.

8 Red Wine

red wine

Red wine is another item which is a rich source of antioxidants. According to Dr Kate Flanigan-Sawyer, a medical officer, ‘Red wine contains bioflavonoids, phenols, resveratrol, and tannins, which have antioxidant and anticlotting properties; raises HDL cholesterol.’ Resveratrol is particularly healthy for the heart by increasing the level of good cholesterol and controlling artery damage. It also helps in preventing inflammation. However, one has to make sure that the wine is consumed in moderation; otherwise the detrimental effects of alcohol may overpower its health benefits.

7 Dark chocolate

dark chocolate

This is certainly good news for all the chocolate lovers out there; enjoy your favourite dark chocolate and keep healthy at the same time. What can be better? Research has proved that dark chocolate has more antioxidant activity and more flavanols than fruits. These flavanols include procyanidins, epicatechins, and catechins, which are known to lower risk of heart disease, lung cancer, prostate cancer, asthma, and type 2 diabetes. It significantly reduces LDL oxidation and prevents the aging process. However,these properties are not found in white chocolate and milk chocolate; milk is, in fact, known to reduce the effectiveness of its antioxidant properties. So, go ahead and indulge yourself!

6 Fruits

fruits
It was not without a reason that your Mom pestered you for eating fruits when you were young. Fruits are certainly one of the healthiest ways of consuming antioxidants because of their other health benefits as well. Apple, the most clichéd health food, goes a long way in slowing down the aging process and keeping the cells healthy for the high level of antioxidants found in it. Dark skinned grapes are rich in flavonoids and polyphenols, making it a first rate source of antioxidants. Studies done at the University of Florida have shown that consumption of pomegranate extract increased blood antioxidant level by at least thirty five percent.  In the case of pomegranate, drinking the juice is considered a healthier option than eating the fruit itself.

5 Soy

Soybeans and its products are considered very beneficial not only for the protein and dietary fibre they contain but also for their antioxidant properties. They contain isoflavones in large amounts that help neutralize the free radicals in our body which otherwise may cause inflammation and heart problems. Researchers have shown that Asians, who consume large amounts of Soy in various forms are less prone to heart attacks and similar cardio-vascular problems as compared to their Western counterparts. They basically work by increasing the level of HDL (good cholesterol) and decreasing the level of LDL (bad cholesterol).  A regular diet of Soy significantly reduces the chances of heart problems.

4 Red Beans

red beans

Red beans are another instance of a super healthy food, with wide-spectrum benefits. Although all types of beans contain a fair amount of antioxidants, red beans are known in particular for antioxidant properties. They contain more antioxidants than any other food- one half cup of red beans yields 13,727 antioxidants. The flavonoids found in red beans best resist heart diseases and growth of cancerous cells. They are a rich source of fibers as well, and should be consumed regularly. So, next time make sure you have a sizeable helping of a red beans dish on your plate.

3 Green Tea

green tea

Tea is, perhaps, the most widely consumed beverage in the world, second only to water. Apart from the taste and stimulation it provides, tea has many health benefits as well. Both black tea and green are rich in antioxidants, although green tea contains more antioxidants because it is not fermented. Green tea is known to fight and prevent many forms of cancer, atherosclerosis, diabetes, bowel problems and liver diseases. The health-giving properties of green tea are mostly due to the polyphenols that are found in it, the fact that China and Japan, the world’s main tea drinkers are not exposed to many types of cancer and have less heart problems, verifies this fact.

2 Tomatoes

tomatoes

This one is for those who get repelled at the sight of tomato ketchup or remove the tomato slices from their burgers. Tomatoes are overloaded with antioxidants. It contains vitamin A, vitamin C and the most potent antioxidant, lycophene. People who consumed lycophene rich tomatoes regularly are thirty percent less likely to develop heart conditions and are also at a reduced risk of prostate cancer. This lycophene is best absorbed by our body in the cooked form. Therefore tomato ketchups, soups and sauces are more beneficial to our health than raw tomatoes. Although all varieties of tomatoes are rich in antioxidants, the orange tomatoes are particularly loaded with antioxidants that our body can absorb more easily.

1 Berries

berries

Apart from being amazingly delicious, berries contain antioxidants in huge amounts. The main antioxidants found in berries are vitamin C, quercetin and anthocyanin, essential for good health. Infact, studies have proved that just one cup of berries provide all the disease fighting antioxidants we need in a single day. Blueberries, cranberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries – all contain large amounts of antioxidants. However, the wild, uncultivated blueberries contain the maximum essential antioxidants (13427 antioxidants) and should be consumed the most. They are hign in fibre and low in calories and can serve as the perfect snack between meals. Add a heap of berries to your morning muesli or blend them into the perfect smoothie, either way you will reap its benefits.

Apart from the above mentioned, there are many other food items that brim with antioxidants. Apricots, carrots, pumpkins, green peppers, kale, mangoes, turnip and collard greens, nectarines, peaches, broccoli, spinach, papaya are some examples of such items. Try including them in your diet to boost your immunity and fight away infections.

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