Why do we need to eat foods that are found to be naturally high in antioxidants?
What are antioxidants?
Which foods do we need to eat, in order to naturally fight free radicals?
Scientists have found that the body forms unstable oxygen molecules, called free radicals; every cell produces tens of thousands of them each day. A free radical is basically an atom with an odd number of electrons in its outer ring. Since electrons have a very strong tendency to exist in a paired rather than an unpaired state, free radicals indiscriminately pick up electrons from other atoms, which in turn convert those other atoms into secondary free radicals, thus setting up a chain reaction, which can cause substantial biological damage. This, in short, is bad.
There are also many kinds of free radicals, which we are exposed to everyday, for example, pollution, radiation, cigarette smoke and herbicides.Antioxidants are thought to neutralize and stabilize these free radicals.
So, which antioxidants are naturally found in which foods?
Vitamin E: a fat-soluble vitamin found in vegetable oils, nuts, green leafy vegetables, and fortified cereals. Some of the foods containing the highest amounts of vitamin E. Are wheat germ oil, almonds, sunflower seeds, sunflower oil, hazelnuts, peanuts, spinach, broccoli, kiwi and mango. Vitamin E is an antioxidant vitamin involved in the metabolism of all cells. It protects vitamin A and essential fatty acids from oxidation in the body cells and prevents breakdown of body tissues.
Vitamin C: Ascorbic acid is a water-soluble vitamin present in citrus fruits and juices, cabbage, green peppers, broccoli, spinach, tomato, kale, guava, cantaloupe, kiwi, papaya, and strawberries. It is important in forming collagen, a protein that gives structure to bones, cartilage, muscle, and blood vessels. Vitamin C also aids in the absorption of iron, and helps maintain capillaries, bones, and teeth.
Beta-carotene: Beta-carotene is a precursor to vitamin A. It is present in liver, egg yolk, milk, butter, spinach, carrots, squash, broccoli, yams, tomato, cantaloupe, peaches, and grains. Studies have been done on beta-carotene’s effectiveness for heart disease, cancer, chronic fatigue syndrome, Alzheimer’s disease, fibromyalgia, male infertility, and psoriasis.
Coenzyme Q10: CoQ10 boosts energy, enhances the immune system, and acts as an antioxidant. A growing body of research suggests that coenzyme Q10 may help prevent or treat some of the following conditions: heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and others. Primary dietary sources of CoQ10 include oily fish, organ meats such as liver, spinach, broccoli, peanuts, wheat germ and whole grains.
Selenium: Selenium is a trace mineral that is essential to good health but required only in small amounts. It helps synthesize antibodies; helps synthesize co-enzyme Q10and helps transport ions across cell membranes. The best sources of selenium are Brazil nuts, wheat germ, molasses, sunflower seeds, whole wheat bread and dairy foods.
Zinc: Zinc is also a trace mineral. It aids in the healing of wounds. Is essential for the male reproduction system. Enzyme activity is dependent on Zinc. Its present in seeds, nuts, meats, whole grains, and dairy.There is evidence thats arising about phytochemical’s and the role they play as antioxidants. There are 2 major categories of phytochemical that we’re talking about in particular. They are Carotenoids and Flavonoids.
There is evidence thats arising about phytochemical’s and the role they play as antioxidants. There are 2 major categories of phytochemical that we’re talking about in particular. They are Carotenoids and Flavonoids.
Carotenoids are known for its anti aging properties.
Flavonoids are more known for its anti carcinogenic properties.
Although both are known for preventing or protecting against cancer.
Quercetin: Is known for the role it plays in stopping LDL cholesterol from being oxidized.Therefore it lowers the risk of it getting stuck o your artery walls. It also is said to help with hay fever, and asthma patients. Good sources of it are Apples, Onions , Cranberries, Red Grapes, and Broccoli. Quercetin is a Flavonoid.
Lycopene: Is known to help prevent osteoporosis, and treat male fertility, and also possibly treat or help prevent prostate cancer. Good Sources of Lycopene are ketchup go for an Organic brand. Watermelon, pink grapefruit,and red bell peppers. Lycopene is a Carotenoid.
Lutein: is known to help prevent or treat heart disease, cataracts, certain cancers, and macular degeneration. Excellent sources of Lutein are greener vegetables. Broccoli, Spinach, Brussel Sprouts, Artichokes, and other green leafy vegetables.
Proanthocyanidins: are known to fight or prevent heart disease and cancer. Excellent sources include tea, cocoa, berries, grapes, red wine.
Catechin’s: are another known heart disease fighter along with providing defense or even prevention of some cancers. Some Good sources are dark chocolate, tea, fruit, beans, and other legumes.
Those are just 10 Antioxidants along with their Profiles.
There are so many more, but here goes our list of foods that rank the highest for their ability to destroy damaging oxygen free radicals aka ORAC Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity. These values are based on consuming a serving of these foods (approx. 4 oz). This scoring was done at the Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, Tufts University, Boston, Massachusetts.
- Prunes 5,770
- Pomegranates 3,037
- Raisins 2,830
- Blueberries 2,400
- Blackberries 2,036
- Garlic 1,940
- Kale 1,770
- Strawberries 1,540
- Spinach 1,260
- Rasberries 1,220
- Brussels Sprouts 980
- Plums 949
- Alfalfa Sprouts 930
- Broccoli florets 890
- Beets 840
- Oranges 750
- Red Grapes 739
- Red Bell Peppers 710
- Cherries 670
- Kiwifruits 602
You should note that the best way to take antioxidants is naturally, through fresh, vibrant food.
One more thing; sometimes less is more. You should also note that there are many other antioxidants naturally found in foods. What you want to do is eat a variety of fruits and vegetables everyday, to keep our systems full of these powerful protective compounds. They won’t only help stave off dis-eases that will harm us. But they also boost our immune systems, and help prevent minor infections and inflammation. They also help guard against premature aging symptoms, like memory loss and skin wrinkling.
Some of these antioxidants are only needed in small amounts, so check into whether you need to take more or not, before you start overdosing on antioxidants!
Nutritional Values Of Apricots