Time and again, researches have proved that the inclusion of antioxidant-rich foods in the diet can be beneficial for improving overall health. But some important questions that may arise are why are antioxidants so useful and how can we get antioxidants?
Antioxidants present in certain fruits and vegetables are certain compounds or substances that help in fighting certain harmful free radicals within the body that can cause various illnesses and diseases.
The body naturally produces oxidants to defend itself against bacteria and viruses. However, if oxidants are produced in large numbers, they may start harming the cells and may even cause certain serious diseases like heart trouble and cancer.
Apart from this, air pollution, smoking and consumption of alcohol may also produce oxidants inside the body.
Also Read: Best Sources Of Antioxidants
But how do we fight these harmful oxidants? Here's when the antioxidants enter the picture.
Some of the benefits of antioxidants are:
1) They help protect the skin against harmful skin diseases caused by over exposure to UV rays.
2) Antioxidants provide support to the immune system.
3) Increasing anti-oxidant intake may also provide protection for the body against eye problems, memory problems, heart problems, etc.
Some of the antioxidant-rich foods that must be consumed for improving health are as follows:
Blueberries are rich in antioxidants and various other vitamins and minerals. They help protect the body against brain damage, cancer, high cholesterol and age-related health diseases and also have anti-ageing effects.
2) Dark Chocolates
Dark chocolates are rich in antioxidants like flavanols and polyphenols that are actually good for your heart. Studies show that the one with 70% cocoa is extremely beneficial. However, dark chocolates need to be consumed in moderation as they are high in calories too.
3) Purple Grapes
The antioxidants present in red-skin grapes/purple grapes are said to provide protection against cancer and heart disease and they also have anti-ageing effects. Snack on purple grapes as much as you can to improve your health.
4) Kidney Beans
Kidney beans are rich in antioxidants and muscle-boosting protein, have no cholesterol and very little fat. Use them in salads, sandwiches or you can also prepare kidney bean curry.
Cranberries contain powerful and effective antioxidant compounds called flavonoids that are helpful in fighting dangerous free radicals within the body. Keep cranberries handy and consume them to remain healthy.
Dark raisins are a great source of antioxidants as they contain anthocyanins that help in boosting energy. For a daily dose of antioxidants you should consume raisins daily either in oats or directly or even in a smoothie.
The antioxidant properties of barley help in boosting energy and give strength to the body. When soaked and sprouted the antioxidant levels are said to increase and it also becomes easily digestible thus helping the body absorb nutrients more effectively.
Antioxidants like carotenoids, lutein, zeaxanthin and beta-carotene present in broccoli help in fighting cancer. Consumption of steamed broccoli is considered to be extremely beneficial.
Tomatoes contain 3 types of essential antioxidants - lycopene, vitamin C and vitamin A. Out of these, vitamin C is the most important antioxidant which helps in improving health. Consumption of cooked tomatoes helps in better absorption of nutrients.
Walnuts are extremely healthy as they contain large amounts of the antioxidant - polyphenols. They are also cholesterol-free, low in sodium and should be consumed daily.