Foods High In Antioxidants
Antioxidants are chemical compounds that help to get rid of free radicals in the body. Free radicals travel throughout the body and damage healthy living cells. Free radicals come from a wide variety of sources and are almost impossible to avoid.
Antioxidants bind the free radicals in your body preventing them from doing further damage.
Antioxidants are very helpful in preventing diseases such as cancer, and heart disease. They have also been found to be beneficial in reducing cholesterol levels and increasing energy and stamina.
Antioxidants help to reduce the signs of aging and prevent early aging markers. Antioxidants are also believed to repair and help prevent oxidative stress which damages cells and causes disease.
Antioxidants are found in fruits, vegetables and some grains. They also can be found in nuts such as walnuts and brazil nuts and spices such as cloves.
The fruit with the highest levels of antioxidant properties are blueberries. Other fruits that contain beneficial antioxidants include unlikely foods such as dried red beans, artichokes, and russet potatoes.
Antioxidants are ranked for concentration using a method called the ORAC, the oxygen radical absorbance capacity. The ORAC measures the antioxidant strength in foods assigning each food with a numerical value.
The higher the number is the higher the level of concentration of antioxidants. To get a good amount of antioxidants it is recommended to eat an abundance of foods that have high ORAC levels.
The Best Antioxidant Foods
Berries contain some of the highest levels of antioxidants.
Berries such as:
These are not only delicious and healthy but they are also high in antioxidants and healing properties. The acai berry, which is not as readily available, is also high in antioxidant properties.
Tomatoes are another great source of antioxidants. Men will especially benefit from eating tomatoes as they are said to help prevent certain types of cancer such as prostrate cancer. Tomatoes also have lycopene which helps to fight against breast cancer and lung cancer.
Russet potatoes are another good source of antioxidants. Russet potatoes can also help prevent Alzheimer’s disease. For the most nutritional benefits be sure to eat the skin of the potato as well as the insides.
More Foods With High Levels of Antioxidants:
- Dried red beans
- Raw carrots
- Whole grains such as cereals, breads and brown rice
Cooking the carrots actually breaks down and kills the antioxidants that are contained within.
Because of the importance and benefits of antioxidants many people have become interested in taking antioxidant supplements. Antioxidant supplements can be taken to increase the amount of antioxidants the body receives. Antioxidants supplements are supposed to provide the body with additional protection and help to fight against the free radicals.
Currently about 30 percent of the American population are taking some form of antioxidant supplements. As is the case with many vitamins and supplements the best way to get the nutritional benefits of antioxidants is to increase the consumption of antioxidant rich foods that are eaten such as berries and beans.
Antioxidant Health Benefits
Antioxidants have many important and valuable health benefits. Antioxidants help to decrease the amount of free radicals in the body that cause disease such as cancer and heart disease. Free radicals also lead to early aging, a slow metabolism and decreased energy levels.
Antioxidants will help to increase energy and stamina levels and reduce early aging signs. Free radicals attack the cell walls causing structural damage and destroying the functioning capabilities of the cell. This can lead to degenerative disease and unpleasant conditions.
Free radicals can be found in many places in our environment. The air we breath is filled with toxins that can be harmful to our bodies. In some areas, such as large cities or near factories, the air quality is worse and contains more harmful toxins that lead to an overabundance of free radical build up in the body. Free radicals also come from iron skillets, poor food choices and the ultraviolet rays of the sun.