Antioxidants: Everything You Need To Know About Them!
A word that has become deservingly popular in recent times is antioxidants. There are several nutrients in food that contain antioxidants – especially vitamin C and vitamin E, which are also the most commonly studied dietary supplements.
What are Antioxidants?
Antioxidants are molecules that fight the free radicals in our body – components that can cause harm if their levels become too high. Multiple illnesses such as diabetes, heart ailments amongst others are caused by these free radicals.
Types of Antioxidants
Vitamin C is a water soluble antioxidant that plays an important part in everyday consumption, whereas Vitamin E is a fat soluble antioxidant that plays a crucial role in protecting cell membranes, amongst others. The third type is called flavonoids, which is found largely in plants.
Vegetables, fruits and plant based whole foods that have a high quotient of vitamin C and E are effective antioxidants. The health benefits of a plant-rich diet is proven in studies, thanks to the variety of antioxidants they provide. Berries, cocoa (dark), and coffee are great sources of antioxidants. Meat products and fish contain antioxidants too but lesser in proportion when compared to plant-based foods.
Fruits & Vegetables
Including antioxidant-rich foods in our everyday diet helps in leading a healthier life. The best strategy is to ensure we include fruits and vegetables in our diet, which is a great way to balance their intake in our body. And if you’re not a fan, might we suggest Daily Greens? It contains the nutrients of 39 Farm Fresh Greens in one tab – and it’s full of antioxidants too!
Dark chocolate is nutritious and has a good amount of antioxidants in them. Consuming cocoa-rich foods reduces blood pressure. Another study has also shown that consuming an optimum level of dark chocolate everyday reduces the risk of heart diseases by raising the antioxidant levels in the blood. Dark chocolate has upto 15 mmol of antioxidants per 100 gms and this is more than berries which are high in antioxidants.
A balanced diet including antioxidant- rich foods is the best way to balance the intake of it and sustain its consumption in the long-term. Including whole grain foods, cereals, lean meat, poultry, and protein-rich foods in your everyday diet will increase the level of antioxidants in your body. Some foods have been labelled as super foods because of their level of antioxidant content. A rating tool called the Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) was created by scientists from the National Institute on Aging and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to measure the antioxidant capacity of foods. The foods that passed off with high ORAC scores were cocoa, berries, spices, and legumes. Daily Greens, too, has an ORAC of 40,000!
Bottom line is, include a variety of foods that have the required value of antioxidants in your everyday diet. This not only helps your body fight free radicals but also keeps you healthy, active and full of life.
- Antioxidants: In Depth, National Center of Complementary and Integrative Medicine, (https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/antioxidants-in-depth)
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- High-ORAC Foods May Slow Aging, (https://www.ars.usda.gov/news-events/news/research-news/1999/high-orac-foods-may-slow-aging/)
- Afam I. O. Jideani, Henry Silungwe, Thakhani Takalani, Adewale O Omolola, Henry O Udeh & Tonna A Anyasi (2021) Antioxidant-rich natural fruit and vegetable products and human health, International Journal of Food Properties, 24:1, 41-67, DOI: 10.1080/10942912.2020.1866597. (https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10942912.2020.1866597)
- Padayatty SJ, Katz A, Wang Y, Eck P, Kwon O, Lee JH, Chen S, Corpe C, Dutta A, Dutta SK, Levine M. Vitamin C as an antioxidant: evaluation of its role in disease prevention. J Am Coll Nutr. 2003 Feb;22(1):18-35. doi: 10.1080/07315724.2003.10719272. PMID: 12569111. (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12569111/)
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