Antioxidants are the compounds that are necessarily required for your body functions. They are produced inside your body and are also found in different foods.
These are also required to prevent the cells from damaging molecules called free radicals. The free radicals may cause oxidative stress when they are present in excessive amounts in the body. This can damage various functions and parts and may even lead to DNA damage.
This oxidative stress can increase the risk factor to get chronic diseases that include heart problems, diabetes, and even cancer. The damage caused by free radicals can be avoided by increasing dietary uptake of antioxidants.
Fortunately, scientists have discovered methods to evaluate certain foods for their antioxidant content, for example, FRAP (ferric reducing ability of plasma) analysis.
What Are the Best Sources of Antioxidants?
Antioxidants are fortunately present in some of the most consumed and loved foods such as the following:
Contrary to the popular belief, dark chocolate is healthy. In a comparison with dark and other types of chocolates, dark chocolate has a higher amount of cocoa, antioxidants, and minerals in it.
The FRAP analysis of dark chocolate tells that it has even more antioxidants than raspberries and blueberries. The quality of these antioxidants of cocoa in dark chocolate is healthy and prevents several medical conditions such as inflammation and heart problems.
Strawberries are among the best sources of antioxidants. It tastes great, sweet and sour. Many people love strawberry for their amazing taste. The FRAP analysis, strawberries provide up to 5.4 mmol of antioxidants per 3.5 ounces.
Strawberries are rich in a special type of antioxidant called anthocyanin. This antioxidant gives strawberries their characteristic color. The higher anthocyanin content makes them turn deep red.
There are so many researchers available on strawberry. They tell that strawberries reduce the cardiac risks by reducing LDL cholesterol in the blood. They also increase HDL cholesterol in the blood.
Blueberries are considered one of the antioxidant-rich fruit which is loaded with health benefits. The FRAP analysis tell that blueberries have more than 9.2 mmol of antioxidants per 3.5 ounces. There are so many studies to support the highest content of antioxidants among all fruits and vegetables known to the world.
The researchers also say that antioxidants are responsible for a number of effects including the neutralization of harmful effect of free radicals. They also reduce inflammation and help to change the expression of certain genes in human bodies.
Goji berries are a dry form of two fruits scientifically called Lycium barbarum and Lycium chinense. Both these plants are a famous part of Chinese traditional medicine. The use of goji berries is thousands of years old.
People term goji berries as a superfood. The reason is their loaded ingredient list that has numerous vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals in it. The FRAP report of goji berries tells that they have 4.3 mmol of antioxidants per 3.5 ounces.
The main antioxidant of goji berries is called Lycium barbarum polysaccharides. It is helpful to reduce the heart problems, cancer, and related chronic disease.
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Raspberries are those soft, tart berries that you often see in dessert recipes. They are tasty and make an absolutely delicious combination with other food ingredients. Raspberries have a high amount of dietary fiber, vitamin C, manganese, and antioxidants.
The FRAP analysis tell that raspberries have up to 4 mmol of antioxidants per 3.5 ounces. Like other foods, raspberries are also linked with reducing the risk of cancer and heart disease.
Anthocyanins are abundant in raspberries that are helpful for inflammation and oxidative stress. This may also reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer.
Pecans are a specific type of nuts, which grows in Mexico and South America. Pecans are considered healthy for humans and they provide a good amount of healthy fats, minerals, and antioxidants.
The FRAP analysis of pecans tells that they have more than 10.6 mmol of antioxidants in eevery3.5 ounces. Pecans are also healthy because they help to raise the natural level of antioxidants in the blood.
Pecans are healthy but you must not forget that they are high in calories. If you are watching your diet, pecans and any product of pecans may not be a good option to enjoy. Also, always consume pecans in moderation, as eating too many of them may result in weight gain.
Artichoke is a vegetable that tastes delicious. It is a huge part of the North American diet. It is famous for historic reasons. Traditionally, artichokes are used to treat liver problems as a part of remedies.
Artichoke is rich in dietary fiber, antioxidants, and other minerals. The FRAP analysis of it tells that it has up to 4.7 mmol of antioxidants per 3.5 ounces. One of the biggest antioxidant in artichoke is known as chlorogenic acid.
There are various studies that suggest that this antioxidant has several anti-inflammatory benefits. These are particularly helpful for reducing heart problems, cancer, type 2 diabetes and other related problems.
Kale is a cruciferous vegetable that grows on the species Brassica oleracea. Some other close relatives of this species include broccoli and cauliflower. It is a healthy and nutritious vegetable that has high amounts of vitamin A, K, and C. Surprisingly; kale also has antioxidants, which are nearly 2.7 mmol per 3.5 ounces.
The red variety of kale has more antioxidant content due to the abundance of anthocyanin in it. The bright color of red kale is due to increased antioxidants in it. Kale is also rich in calcium that is essentially required for bone health and density.
Spinach is a healthy vegetable that is loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. The best thing is that it has extremely low calories in it. You don’t even need to worry about the calories when you are eating spinach.
The FRAP report of spinach tells that it provides up to 0.9 mmol of antioxidants per 3.5 ounces. This is too good for a vegetable to help with your health. Spinach is also rich in lutein and zeaxanthin.
Both of these are antioxidants that are helpful to protect the body from damages of UV lights. These UV lights particularly damage the eyes.
Beans belong to the legume family, which are considered as an inexpensive mode of health. They are high in fiber and are used in a number of recipes. Eating beans are incredibly healthy as it maintains a good digestive health.
Beans are considered as a potent source of antioxidants. The FRAP analysis of beans shows that they contain up to 2 mmol of antioxidants per 3.5 ounces. Some particular types of beans i.e. pinto beans have a antioxidant kaempferol.
Kaempferol is linked with so many impressive health benefits such as inflammation, cancer, cardiac problems etc. There are so many studies to show that it is helpful for many problems of breasts, bladder, kidney, and lungs.
What Else Do You Need To Know?
Antioxidants are essentially required compounds that your body makes on its own. But the other source to get them naturally is through food. All these antioxidant-rich foods protect the body from free radical damage.
The free radicals accumulate and promote oxidative stress. This is linked to a number of health problems. Fortunately, nature has loaded certain fruits and vegetables with antioxidants, which are helpful to neutralize the free radical damage.
However, the daily diet should be balanced and no one should eat any of the mentioned foods in a more than needed quantity as it may cause more harm rather than benefiting the body.