Top 5 Anti-Oxidant Foods that can Benefit Your Health
Antioxidants are proven to be beneficial in maintaining our body’s health and normal function. These antioxidants are known as complex compounds that function as catalysts and aids in the repair and prevent the wear and tear of our body cells. These substances also protect the cells from free radicals, which are molecules produced by the body when food is broken down, or when exposed to environmental elements like tobacco or radiation. Free radicals are known to damage the cells and cause certain illnesses like heart disease and cancers.
Antioxidants are also administered and commonly used as medications to treat various forms of brain injury and neurodegenerative conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS. People who consume large amounts of antioxidant foods like fruits and vegetables have a lower risk of developing heart disease and neurologic disorders. In addition, it also prevents certain types of cancer, macular degeneration, suppressed immunity caused by poor nutrition and degenerative nerve conditions.
With all the great benefits of antioxidants to our health, it is, then, important for us to ensure that we get ample amounts of antioxidants in the food we eat. There are many antioxidant-rich health foods that we can choose from. But based on studies the following foods are considered the top sources of this nutrient:
• Berries which include cranberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries were all ranked the highest among fruits rich in antioxidants. Berries are full of fiber, and loaded with healing antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Blueberries also appear to delay the start of age-related cognitive function loss and along with strawberries and raspberries, contain ellagic acid, which is a plant compound that fights harmful carcinogens. Raspberries, blackberries and blueberries are great health foods that are rich in proanthocyanidins. These antioxidants help prevent cancers and heart disease.
• Small red beans have been proven to be rich in disease-fighting antioxidants. Red kidney beans and pinto beans also deserve to be in the top list as this food group contains all-important antioxidants that help fight free radicals in the body.
• Nuts like pecans, walnuts and hazelnuts are top health foods that have antioxidants. Spices like ground cloves, cinnamon and oregano are also rich in antioxidants, although they are consumed in much lesser amounts than fruits and vegetables. Probably one of the herbs that are also worth noting is garlic. Research shows that garlic has medicinal benefits and can lower heart cholesterol levels, reduce blood pressure, combat free radicals and prevent blood clots. It is also known to prevent certain cancers as well.
• Tea is another good source of antioxidants. Green tea and white tea are especially high in catechin EGCG, a strong antioxidant which is found in plants. Both have been proven to reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke and degenerative diseases.
• Vegetables, particularly broccoli, tomatoes, carrots, cabbage, asparagus, lettuce, spinach and artichokes are all high in various antioxidants. These antioxidants foods contain lycopene, beta-carotene, gluthatione and carotenoids that help prevent cancers, heart disease and boost the body’s immune function as well.