Delicious Defense: How Antioxidant-Rich Foods Can Shield Your Body From Harmful Free Radicals
‘Antioxidants’ is a word that has been constantly mentioned in the skincare industry with more companies manufacturing products that contain green tea extracts, vitamin C, vitamin E and other compounds that have antioxidants in them. The chemical is praised for its anti-ageing properties and for preventing the epidermis layer from being damaged. As essential as it is for your skin, antioxidants are also crucial for a healthy body, so here is (almost) everything you should know about antioxidants.
In order to understand antioxidants and their role better, it is necessary to know about free radicals.
Free radicals are atoms that are produced as a result of the body’s natural chemical reactions caused by factors such as stress, alcohol, smoking, and UV rays and believe it or not, even exercising can contribute to the production of free radicals.
These loose atoms that freely move around the body tend to capture the electrons from the other cells in the body which can lead those cells to lose their function gradually. This condition is scientifically referred to as oxidant stress and it can cause havoc to the human body, eventually resulting in cancer, cardiovascular diseases and more medical problems.
To tackle this issue, antioxidants donate their electrons to the free radicals so that they do not steal the electrons from the other cells. While this may sound counterintuitive with the antioxidants losing their electrons, this actually does not cause any damage to them.
Antioxidants are naturally occurring in our body but as we grow old, the body generates them in lesser quantity thus having to depend on foods for it. An antioxidant-rich diet is particularly essential during summer because more UV rays enter the body thus increasing the production of free radicals.
Fortunately, it is very convenient to add antioxidants to your diet because there are plenty of foods that have the substance in them. Here are some ways to implement them in your daily meals.
Add some berries to your morning cup of cereal, yoghurt or smoothie. While strawberries, cranberries and raspberries are good picks, blueberries are the best choice as they contain the most amount of antioxidants in them.
Try snacking on a handful of nuts such as pecans, chestnuts and walnuts which are not only a great source of antioxidants but also healthy fats.
Choose dark chocolate as a dessert for your post-meal cravings as it is certainly a healthier alternative to other types of chocolates due to the high amount of cocoa in them. In addition to supplying antioxidants to the body, dark chocolate also contributes to a healthy heart.
If you love salads, then load them with spinach or kale which are both excellent sources of antioxidants. You can even add a few slices of carrots which have the antioxidant-rich chemical called carotenoids that give the vegetable its orange colour. Even sweet potatoes have carotenoids in them so if you are a fan of this root vegetable then you can have it roasted, boiled or however you like it.
Meat lovers can always depend on certain meats like chicken, pork and beef to replenish their bodies with antioxidants.