Everyone is always talking about the wonderful benefits of antioxidants but nobody explains exactly what they are.
An antioxidant is a molecule that donates an electron to stop the damaging effects of free radical. Free radicals contain unpaired electrons and are created when certain molecules interact with oxygen. Free radicals are dangerous because of their ability to react with (and damage) cellular components such as DNA or cell membrane, in search of electrons so they can be stable
Some free radicals are produced during the metabolism.;
When antioxidants donate their electrons to neutralize free radicals themselves are oxidized, so we need to constantly replenish our supply of antioxidants from our diet. The body produces some of its own antioxidants; However, with the increase of free radicals in our environment and lifestyle, odd 4000 antioxidant compounds found in foods are essential for good health.
antioxidant strength is measured in units of capacity to absorb oxygen radical (ORAC). ORAC measures how many oxygen radicals (free radicals) can neutralize a specific food. The more free radicals can neutralize a food, the higher its ORAC value.
blueberries, raspberries and blackberries contain a powerful group of antioxidants called proanthocyanidins, which may play a role in preventing cancer and heart disease. They have anti-inflammatory properties, help regulate blood sugar, it helps maintain elasticity of the collagen and protect blood vessels. Berries also contain an anti-cancer compound called ellagic acid.
berries can be eaten alone, with some nuts or seeds or added to plain Greek yogurt with cinnamon and raw honey.
Broccoli is other food that my help to prevent cancer and heart disease. Broccoli also contains vitamin C, an antioxidant that protects us from the constant attacks ” of infection, toxins and pollutants. 1 cup steamed broccoli provides 500 mg of vitamin C.
Aptly called “food of the gods”, the black chocolate black chocolate contains many potent antioxidant compounds such as polyphenols, catechins, proanthocyanidins and bioflavonoids. These antioxidants protect the heart and brain, improve immune function, reduces inflammation of blood vessels and fight cancer.
The darker the chocolate, the higher the antioxidant content, so look for high-quality chocolates with main ingredients of cocoa butter and cocoa solids.
4. Wild salmon
wild salmon is an excellent source of the antioxidant astaxanthin. Astaxanthin is the pigment that gives salmon its pink color and research has shown that is has wonderful health benefits too. It has been found to reduce levels of C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation and heart disease. It seems the best choice when it comes to protecting your DN from free radicals, since it is 6,000 times more effective than vitamin C, 800 times more than CoQ10 and 550 times more than vitamin E. It has also been shown to protect against liver, colon and breast.
wild salmon seems to be the best source of this compound, with a portion of 100 g providing 4.5 grams of astaxanthin.
Eat sweet potatoes instead of regular white potatoes can be one of the best things you can do for your health. Beta-carotene is converted to vitamin A, which is essential for vision, protects the skin from sun damage and reduce the chances of getting emphysema from smoking or secondhand smoke. Sweet potatoes are also a good source of vitamin C.
Why include them in your diet?
Antioxidants not only reduce the oxidation process by neutralizing free radicals, but also improve immune function, reduce inflammation and reduce the risk of infections and cancer. One study found that a combination of antioxidants beta carotene, vitamins C and E and zinc ore reduces the risk of developing advanced stages of macular degeneration related to age. The antioxidant lutein is also useful to neutralize free radicals in the retina of the eye, decreased macular degeneration and vision loss in the elderly.
For athletes, the daily intake of antioxidants significantly improves performance and reduces stress related to exercise.
antioxidants protect the skin by protecting cells from damage and to promote cell and tissue growth. Vitamins A, C and E and the mineral selenium are especially useful here and its effects can help slow the signs of aging on the skin.
Antioxidants help prevent cholesterol from oxidizing. Oxidized cholesterol adheres to the walls of blood vessels in which the immune system detects a threat and target cell reaction is mounted. The white blood cells turn oxidized cholesterol plaque lining the artery walls and narrow. The plates may break off and block arteries, causing heart attacks or strokes.
The best way to get a good variety of antioxidants in the diet is to eat 5-7 servings of foods that have bright colors.
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