Nutrition Made Simple

POWERFUL ANTIOXIDANTS AND THEIR BENEFITS

February 13 2021

POWERFUL ANTIOXIDANTS AND THEIR BENEFITS

POWERFUL ANTIOXIDANTS AND THEIR BENEFITS

Antioxidants are compounds found in many fruits and vegetables as well as in our bodies. They function by protecting our body from free radical damage. Thus various chronic diseases along with premature aging are prevented. Free radicals are often the cause of oxidative stress in our body which creates havoc on one’s DNA and other structures of the cells. This further leads to an increase in the risk of chronic diseases like cancer, type 2 diabetes, and severe heart diseases. FRAP or Ferric Reducing Ability of Plasma is a test usually carried out to measure the antioxidant content in foods. The more the FRAP value, the higher the antioxidant content.

There are various types of antioxidants namely water-soluble, fat-soluble, or both fat and water-soluble. The water-soluble antioxidants function by fighting against free radicals in the blood plasma. The fat-soluble antioxidants fight the free radicals in the cell membrane. Many vitamins such as A, D, E, K, C as well as minerals such as copper, zinc, iodine, manganese are rich sources of antioxidants. Other than this many proteins such as glutathione, alpha-lipoic acids as well as phytochemicals like quercetin, lycopene, carotenoids, zeaxanthin, flavonoids, ellagic acid, and lutein are also rich sources of antioxidants. Some of these antioxidants either work by preventing the oxidative process or by neutralizing the effect of the free radicals.

Antioxidants provide many health benefits like it helps boost one’s brain function, keeps one’s hair, skin, and eyes healthy. They also aid in better lung functioning and also prevent many chronic diseases mainly cancer and cardiovascular diseases.

Some of the best powerful antioxidant-rich foods are: -

Green Tea 

Green tea contain polyphenols especially catechin, which is natural antioxidants. These antioxidants prevent cell damage as well as protects our body from oxidative damage. Oxidative damage highly contributes to the development of cancer.

Blueberries 

They contain the highest amount of antioxidants when compared to common fruits and vegetables according to several studies. Blueberries contain up to 9.2 mmol of antioxidants per 3.5 ounces or 100 grams according to FRAP analysis. Some of the blueberries’ health benefits are reducing high blood pressure, the prevention brain damage that occurs in old age, lowering low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, and decreasing the risk of many heart diseases. Anthocyanin is the main antioxidant responsible for blueberries’ health benefits.

Strawberries 

It contains a high amount of vitamin C as well as a good quantity of antioxidants especially anthocyanin. Strawberries provided 5.4 mmol of antioxidants per 3.5 ounces according to FRAP analysis.  Strawberries, because of their antioxidant properties, are known for reducing LDH cholesterol levels as well as eradicating complex heart problems.

Beans 

They are rich in fiber, and they are the richest source of antioxidants among vegetables. Kaempferol, which is the most abundant antioxidant in beans, helps suppress the growth of kidneys, bladder, and lung cancer. Beans are supposed to contain up to 2 mmol of antioxidants per 3.5 ounces as per FRAP analysis.

Dark chocolate

Dark chocolate is another popular food that contains a high quantity of antioxidants. Dark chocolates contain 15mmol of antioxidants per 3.5 ounces or 100 grams according to FRAP analysis. Some of the health benefits related to dark chocolate are reduction in inflammation, regulation of blood pressure, reduction in risk of various heart diseases, and prevention of oxidation of LDH cholesterol.

Spinach 

It is one of the rich antioxidant foods that can be included in our diet. The main antioxidants present in spinach are lutein and zeaxanthin. These antioxidants provide health benefits such as protection of one’s eyes from UV light and other damaging light wavelengths.

Pecans 

These are a type of nuts commonly found in South America and Mexico. They contain a good amount of healthy fats, minerals, and antioxidants. FRAP analysis showed that pecans contain up to 10.6 mmol of antioxidants per 3.5 ounces. The inclusion of pecans in our diet helps prevent heart disease as well as increased antioxidant levels in the blood thereby decreasing oxidized LDL.

Artichokes

These are a great source of dietary fiber, antioxidants, and minerals and were commonly used to treat jaundice and liver conditions in ancient times. Artichokes contain up to 4.7 mmol of antioxidants per 3.5 ounces as per FRAP analysis. Chlorogenic acid is the main antioxidant present in artichokes. This antioxidant protects our body from cancer growth, heart problems, and Type 2 diabetes.

Kale 

It is rich in vitamin A, C, and K, and also contains a good amount of antioxidants. Kale contains up to 2.7 mmol of antioxidants per 3.5 ounces. Sound cellular functions and good bone growth are the two important health benefits provided by kale.

Red cabbage 

It contains a good amount of antioxidants as well as vitamin A, C, K. Anthocyanin and vitamin C are the main primary antioxidants in red cabbage. According to FRAP analysis, red cabbages are confirmed to have up to 2.2 mmol of antioxidants per 3.5 ounces. Anthocyanin helps reduce inflammation and also reduces the risk of heart diseases and cancer. Vitamin C helps strengthen the immune system and also paves the way for healthy, glowing skin.

Purple or green grapes

This particular variety contains vitamin C, selenium, and antioxidants. Anthocyanin and pro-anthocyanin are the two most important antioxidants in grapes that help protect a person from heart disease as well as cancer.

Beet 

Betalains, a class of pigments, are the main antioxidants present in beet. Beets contain 1.7 mmol of antioxidants per 3.5 ounces. Betalains help prevent digestive issues as well as colon cancer. One review stated that betalains were effective in reducing free radicals, thus helped in preventing cancer.

Orange vegetable

Orange vegetables are known for their good phytochemical content that helps prevent heart diseases and cancer. Moreover, they contain a good amount of vitamin A and other nutrients. Sweet potatoes, carrots, acorn squash, butternut squash are examples of some orange vegetables with high antioxidant levels.

Raspberries

They are a good source of vitamin C, dietary fiber, manganese, and antioxidants. Raspberries provide up to 4 mmol of antioxidants per 3.5 ounces as per FRAP analysis. Anthocyanin is the main antioxidant found in raspberry and it helps reduce inflammation and oxidative stress. Many studies have linked the antioxidant activity of raspberries with lower risks of cancer and heart disease.

Conclusion

Antioxidants are compounds that are found naturally in our system but can be also derived from foods. They protect us from a variety of diseases and have numerous health benefits. However, scientists are still carrying on their research to determine the exact quantity of high antioxidant-rich foods we should take to acquire high levels of antioxidants in our system.

Some good antioxidant supplements: -

Alvizia’s MILK THISTLE 600mg with 80% Silymarin – This product contains Silymarin as an active ingredient which provides an antioxidant activity by reducing free radical production. Furthermore, it has other health benefits such as improvement in brain health, promotion of skin health, a boost of our immune system, improvement towards weight loss, and reduction in cholesterol level. 


This article is the sole opinion of the author and Alvizia Healthcare holds no responsibility for the content. *

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