One can prevent numerous diseases if includes plenty of antioxidant rich foods in a diet. Antioxidant foods are especially important to prevent viral infections. Nevertheless, there are many other benefits of such foods because regular intake of antioxidants protects body tissues from various types of damage caused by free radicals.
Foods Rich in Antioxidants
Daily diet rich in antioxidant foods promotes overall health. It is important step one can take to prevent cardiovascular diseases, cancer, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and other medical conditions. Antioxidant rich foods help to slow down the aging process, strengthen the immune system and protect against infections. Antioxidant rich foods are also recommended as they have high nutritional value. Foods that are considered best source of antioxidants include:
- Vegetables – red cabbage, spinach, carrots, red beet, Brussels sprouts, kale, parsley, artichoke, peppers, potatoes, cucumber, asparagus, lettuce and squash.
- Fruits – grapefruit, pineapple, watermelon, grapes, orange, plum, pomegranate, kiwi fruit, apple, bilberry, Acai berry, cranberry, raspberry, blueberry, blackberry and cherry.
- Nuts – walnuts, hazelnuts, pecans, groundnuts, peanut.
- Legumes – soybeans, pinto beans and broad beans.
- Dry fruits – dates, prunes and apricots.
- Spices – cinnamon, cloves, cayenne pepper, cardamom, turmeric, cumin and oregano.
- Herbs- marjoram, basil, savory, dill weed, thyme and tarragon.
- Beverages – green tea, tomato juice, apple juice, orange juice, pomegranate juice and pink grapefruit juice.
- Meats – chicken, fish, lamb, turkey and crabmeat.
Benefit of Antioxidant Rich Foods
Antioxidant rich foods are vital for healthy heart. Antioxidants are also called anti-oxidation agents. Their role is to neutralize harmful effects of free radicals. Free radicals or oxidants are produced in normal biochemical processes in the body, when oxygen is used to produce energy. Excess free radicals in the body can cause severe damage to cells, which leads to premature aging and degenerative diseases. Antioxidants are molecules that have the ability to prevent formation and disposal of free radicals. Antioxidants refer to different nutrients such as vitamins A, C, D and E, beta carotene, selenium and lycopene. Flavonoids are antioxidants that give color to fruits and vegetables. High sources of flavonoids are berries and citrus fruits. Flavonoids are particularly good for mental health. Phytonutrients are antioxidants found in skins of fruits and vegetables. They protect against cancer and promote immune system. Isoflavones are antioxidants with maybe the best health benefits. They protect the bones, relieve symptoms of menopause and reduce the risk of cancer. Soybeans and peanuts are rich in isoflavones. Zinc is a mineral with antioxidant properties that protects from neurological disorders. Cheese and milk are high in zinc. Coenzyme Q-10 is antioxidant produced in the body but this production decreases with age. This can be compensated by eating food sources of Coenzyme Q-10 (nuts, lamb and fish). Melatonin is also produced by the body. It maintains our sleep patterns and is beneficial to the aging process. Vegetables, especially tomatoes are rich in melatonin.