Before you think of eating Antioxidants foods, what do you think they are really made of? In this article, you will be given detailed information about it.
Antioxidants are compounds produced in your body and found in foods. They help defend your cells from damage caused by potentially harmful molecules known as free radicals.
When free radicals accumulate, they may cause a state known as oxidative stress. This may damage your DNA and other important structures in your cells.
Sadly, chronic oxidative stress can increase your risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer.
Fortunately, eating a diet rich in antioxidants can help increase your blood antioxidant levels to fight oxidative stress and reduce the risk of these diseases.
Scientists use several tests to measure the antioxidant content of foods.
One of the best tests is the FRAP (ferric reducing ability of plasma) analysis. It measures the antioxidant content of foods by how well they can neutralize a specific free radical.
The higher the FRAP value, the more antioxidants the food contains.
Here are the top 5 healthy foods that are high in antioxidants.
Beans are a diverse group of legumes that are inexpensive and healthy. They are also incredibly high in fiber, which can help keep your bowel movements regular.
Beans are also one of the best vegetable sources of antioxidants. A FRAP analysis found that green broad beans contain up to 2 mmol of antioxidants per 3.5 ounces (100 grams).
In addition, some beans such as pinto beans contain a particular antioxidant called kaempferol. This antioxidant has been linked to impressive health benefits, such as reduced chronic inflammation and suppressed cancer growth.
For example, several animal studies have found that kaempferol may suppress the growth of cancers in the breast, bladder, kidneys and lungs.
However, because most of the research supporting the benefits of kaempferol has been in animals or test tubes, more human-based studies are needed.
Strawberries are among the most popular berries on the planet. They are sweet, versatile and a rich source of vitamin C and antioxidants.
Based on a FRAP analysis, strawberries provide up to 5.4 mmol of antioxidants per 3.5 ounces (100 grams).
Moreover, strawberries contain a type of antioxidant called anthocyanins, which give them their red color. Strawberries that have a higher anthocyanin content tend to be brighter red.
Research has shown that anthocyanins may help reduce the risk of heart disease by reducing levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol and raising “good” HDL cholesterol.
A review of 10 studies found that taking an anthocyanin supplement significantly reduced LDL cholesterol among people who had either heart disease or high LDL levels.
3. Dark Chocolate
Lucky for chocolate lovers, dark chocolate is nutritious. It has more cocoa than regular chocolate, as well as more minerals and antioxidants.
Based on the FRAP analysis, dark chocolate has up to 15 mmol of antioxidants per 3.5 ounces (100 grams). This is even more than blueberries and raspberries, which contain up to 9.2 and 2.3 mmol of antioxidants in the same serving size, respectively.
Moreover, the antioxidants in cocoa and dark chocolate have been linked to impressive health benefits such as less inflammation and reduced risk factors for heart disease.
For example, a review of 10 studies looked at the link between cocoa intake and blood pressure in both healthy people and those with high blood pressure.
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Consuming cocoa-rich products like dark chocolate reduced systolic blood pressure (the upper value) by an average of 4.5 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure (the lower value) by an average of 2.5 mmHg.
Another study found that dark chocolate may reduce the risk of heart disease by raising blood antioxidant levels, raising levels of “good” HDL cholesterol and preventing “bad” LDL cholesterol from becoming oxidized.
Oxidized LDL cholesterol is harmful because it promotes inflammation in the blood vessels, which can lead to an increased risk of heart disease.
4. Red Cabbage
Red cabbage has an impressive nutrient profile. Also known as purple cabbage, it is rich in vitamins C, K and A, and has a high antioxidant content.
According to a FRAP analysis, red cabbage provides up to 2.2 mmol of antioxidants per 3.5 ounces (100 grams).
That’s more than four times the amount of antioxidants in regular cooked cabbage.
This is because red cabbage contains anthocyanins, a group of antioxidants that give red cabbage its color. Anthocyanins are also found in strawberries and raspberries.
These anthocyanins have been linked to several health benefits. They may reduce inflammation, protect against heart disease and reduce the risk of certain cancers.
What’s more, red cabbage is a rich source of vitamin C, which acts as an antioxidant in the body. Vitamin C may help strengthen the immune system and keep the skin firm.
Interestingly, the way red cabbage is prepared can also affect its antioxidant levels.
Boiling and stir-frying red cabbage may boost its antioxidant profile, while steaming red cabbage may reduce its antioxidant content by almost 35%.
Spinach is one of the most nutritionally dense vegetables. It’s loaded with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, and is incredibly low in calories.
Based on a FRAP analysis, spinach provides up to 0.9 mmol of antioxidants per 3.5 ounces (100 grams).
Spinach is also a great source of lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants that may help protect your eyes from damaging UV light and other harmful light wavelengths.
These antioxidants help combat damage to the eyes that free radicals may cause over time.
Antioxidants are compounds that your body makes naturally. You can also get them from foods.
They protect your body from potentially harmful molecules known as free radicals, which can accumulate and promote oxidative stress. Unfortunately, oxidative stress raises the risk of heart disease, cancers, type 2 diabetes and many other chronic diseases.
Fortunately, eating a diet rich in antioxidants can help neutralize free radicals and reduce the risk of these chronic diseases.
By eating a wide variety of the foods in this article, you can boost your blood levels of antioxidants and reap their many health benefits.