What Are Antioxidant Foods?
What Are Antioxidant Foods? Because of the antioxidants that play an active role in all these processes, it is very important for our health. By preventing harmful processes in the body and minimizing damage, it gives a clear idea about the antioxidant benefits. In daily life we can consume fruits for antioxidants, we assess broader antioxidant foods are available too. So what foods contain antioxidants?
Antioxidant Foods: Dark chocolate is delicious, nutritious and one of the best sources of antioxidants. In general, the higher the cocoa content, the more antioxidants the chocolate contains. In some studies, it has been observed that dark chocolate can raise HDL (good) cholesterol levels in the blood and prevent LDL (bad) cholesterol from being exposed to the oxidative effect. Exposure of LDL cholesterol to an oxidative effect is dangerous for heart health. ( 1 )
Walnuts are a popular food rich in minerals, healthy oils, and antioxidants. It can also help raise blood antioxidant levels and lower bad cholesterol.
Blueberries are among the best sources of antioxidants. They are rich in anthocyanins and other antioxidants that can help reduce the risk of heart disease and delay the decline in brain function that occurs with age.
Strawberries are also rich in antioxidants called anthocyanins, which help reduce the risk of heart disease. With their antioxidant properties, strawberries have an effect on cholesterol values just like dark chocolate. It has been observed that it can reduce LDL cholesterol by increasing HDL cholesterol.
When it comes to foods containing antioxidants, artichokes are among the vegetables with the highest levels of antioxidants, including chlorogenic acid. Their antioxidant content can vary depending on how they are prepared.
Raspberries are nutritious, tasty, and full of antioxidants. They are rich in anthocyanins and have anti-inflammatory effects on the body.
Cabbage is one of the most nutritious greens on the planet and is partially rich in antioxidants. Although cabbage is high in antioxidants, red cabbage may contain twice as many antioxidants. Plus, red cabbage is a delicious way to increase your antioxidant intake. Its red color comes from its high content of anthocyanins, a group of antioxidants linked with some impressive health benefits.
Beans are an inexpensive way to increase your antioxidant intake. It also contains the antioxidant kaempferol, which has been linked to its anticancer benefits in animal and test-tube studies.
Beets are an important source of fiber, potassium, iron, folate, and antioxidants. It contains a group of antioxidants called betalains, which are one of the most powerful types of antioxidants and have been associated with impressive health benefits.
Spinach is rich in nutritional value, high in antioxidants, and low in calories. It is also one of the best sources of lutein and zeaxanthin that protect the eyes from free radicals.
What is an antioxidant?
The term antioxidant covers a wide variety of molecules (atoms linked together by chemical bonds) that protect other molecules from a chemical process called oxidation. Oxidation can damage vital molecules in our cells, including DNA and proteins responsible for many bodily processes. Molecules such as DNA are necessary for cells to function properly. If there is too much damage to these molecules, the cell may malfunction or die. That’s why antioxidants are important. Antioxidants can prevent or reduce this damage. Uncontrolled oxidation in the body is typically caused by highly reactive molecules known as free radicals.
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What is Oxidation?
Oxidation is a common chemical reaction in which electrons are transferred from one molecule to another. Electrons are one of the subatomic (smaller than atoms) particles that make up almost everything. As electrons move during an oxidation reaction, bonds can break and the structure of molecules can change.
Not all oxidation reactions are bad. Oxidation is essential for life and is involved in many important processes. In cellular respiration, glucose (the sugar we get from the food we eat) is oxidized by oxygen (the air we breathe), producing carbon dioxide, water, and energy to nourish our bodies.
Examples of less desirable oxidation reactions include rusting of metals and food spoilage.
What are Free Radicals?
Free radicals are simple molecules with one or more unpaired electrons. Electrons like to be in pairs, so unpaired electrons can result in unstable and highly reactive molecules. In order to stabilize, the free radical needs to get an electron (or donate one) from another molecule. When a molecule loses an electron, that molecule is oxidized and the molecule itself becomes a free radical. This new free radical can take an electron from another molecule, initiating a chain reaction. This process permanently changes the structure of the molecules, causing irreversible damage.
But if an antioxidant is present, it can bind an electron to a free radical, stabilize it and stop the chain reaction. The antioxidant sacrifices itself and instead of the other molecule, it oxidizes, becomes free radical. But unlike most molecules, the antioxidant can stabilize the unpaired electron and is not highly reactive. This process makes the antioxidant ineffective.
Free radicals are produced naturally by our bodies. However, it can increase with lifestyle factors such as stress, malnutrition, pollution, smoking, and alcohol. Our body can handle some free radicals, but when too much builds up it can overwhelm the body’s normal defenses.