Contribution: Rachna Arya

What are antioxidants?

These are naturally occurring chemicals that fight a process known as oxidative stress in your cells and are thought to boost overall health. The main sources are plant-based foods, including fruits and vegetables. However, they can also be found in man-made substances, such as dietary supplements.

Examples of antioxidants include:

  • Beta-carotene
  • Lutein
  • Lycopene
  • Selenium
  • Manganese
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E

Plant nutrients and chemicals such as phenols, polyphenols, flavonoids and phytoestrogens are also antioxidants. Each antioxidant has unique properties and performs a different function. So, it is a misconception that antioxidants are interchangeable with one another. For this, it is necessary to have a range of different foods.

Prospective studies have shown that a higher intake of antioxidant-rich foods effectively contributes to reducing the risk of chronic oxidative stress-related diseases. Cardiovascular disease, cancer, and death from all causes. At the same time, there is a large body of evidence that eating fruits, vegetables, and whole grains provides protection against many of the injuries of aging.

In this article, we will look at some nutrients with antioxidant activity and the foods in which they are found.:

Beta-carotene

It is an important dietary compound associated with various health benefits. It is an antioxidant that belongs to a group of color pigments called carotenoids. The human body converts beta-carotene into vitamin A, which is needed for good vision and eye health, a strong immune system, and healthy skin and mucous membranes.

Where to find:

Brightly colored fruits and vegetables, such as carrots, squash, spinach, lettuce, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, broccoli and other green vegetables.

Vitamin E

This fat-soluble antioxidant fights free radicals that attack the fat in your cell walls. Consumption of foods rich in vitamin E is associated with better cardiovascular health. This nutrient also plays an important role in vision, reproduction, and the health of your blood, brain, and skin.

Where to find:

Whole grains, vegetable oils, beets, collard greens, spinach, peanut butter, red bell peppers, and leafy greens.

Vitamin C

Also known as ascorbic acid, this powerful antioxidant can neutralize harmful free radicals. Since it is water soluble (the body does not store it), it is important to eat foods that contain it every day. Vitamin C is essential for cardiovascular health, wound healing and prevention of stomach, lung and digestive tract cancers.

Where to find:

Green leafy vegetables, tomatoes, strawberries, potatoes, green peas and citrus fruits such as oranges and grapefruit, spinach and other leafy greens.

Selenium

Found in soil and water, this antioxidant helps reduce oxidative stress in the body, which reduces inflammation and boosts the immune system. Various studies have shown that increased blood levels of selenium are associated with increased immune function. Research suggests that it may help reduce the production of oxidized LDL and, therefore, protect against heart disease risk as well as cancer, particularly of the lung, colon and prostate.

Where to find:

Brazil nuts, grains, garlic, eggs, soybeans, seafood, red meat and liver.

Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids

Omega-3s are extremely powerful antioxidants that help remove toxins from the body and protect cells and tissues from oxidative stress, allowing them to function optimally. Both essential omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial in the prevention or treatment of several cardiovascular, neurological, dermatologic, and psychiatric disorders.

Where to find them:

Flaxseed, salmon, tuna, sardines, walnuts, vegetable oil, almonds, chicken

Rich, vibrantly colored vegetables and fruits often contain the most antioxidants. In general, the more intense the color of the fruit or vegetable, the more antioxidants it contains. There is no specific daily allowance for antioxidants, but it is true that if you eat more of them, you are less likely to develop a number of diseases.

However, it’s worth remembering that while studies have linked fruit and vegetable consumption to overall health, consuming extra antioxidants, especially in processed foods, may not provide significant benefits.

Additionally, it is important to consult a health care professional before you consider taking an antioxidant supplement.

However, there may be chances that you are allergic to any of the ingredients or you may have an unspecified medical condition that could be aggravated by any of the ingredients.

‘In such a situation, you might as well choose genetic testing, which is a state-of-the-art predictive health tool to determine your propensity for certain foods; It can have a positive or negative effect depending on the individual.

Additionally, you should undergo preventive health checkups. These health tests give a complete report on your health, allowing you to take necessary precautions to improve your health and ward off many illnesses.

Book a full body wellness exam today!

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