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    • cal08-September-2022 adminAmrita Sandhu

      Antioxidant-Rich Foods: Types, Sources and Benefits

    • We see ‘packed with antioxidants’ on almost every skincare or food and beverage product on the market these days. But what exactly is the hype about antioxidants? 

      We have heard people talking about antioxidants. Many healthcare professionals also suggest consuming foods rich in antioxidants. This is because antioxidants have numerous health benefits crucial for the human body.

      Antioxidants are naturally occurring in foods. They help fight free radicals produced in the body due to pollution, infections, or other environmental factors. 

      They fight free radicals before they reach the cellular level and damage the cells of the body leading to illnesses like cancer, heart disease and diabetes. Vitamin C and E are considered the best antioxidants from food sources like fruits, nuts, vegetables etc.

      Table Of Contents

      1. Functions Of Antioxidants In Our Body

      2. Types Of Dietary Antioxidants

      3. Antioxidant-Rich Foods For Weight Loss

      4. Other Antioxidants Rich Foods 

      5. Dietary Tips To Incorporate Antioxidants Into Your Diet

      6. The Final Say

      7. FAQs

      Functions Of Antioxidants In Our Body

      Here is a list of a few functions of antioxidants in our body. 

      • Protects cells against premature and abnormal ageing.
      • Reduces the free radicals.
      • Supports the body's immune system.
      • Helps fight age-related molecular degeneration.
      • Stimulates the growth of normal cells.

      Types Of Dietary Antioxidants

      There are two types of antioxidants, mainly fat soluble and water soluble. Fat-soluble antioxidants perform their function in the membrane of cells. Whereas water-soluble antioxidants perform their function outside and inside the cells. Vital dietary antioxidants are:

      1. Flavonoids

      Mainly found in olive oil and turmeric (oleocanthal and curcuminoids), they contain anti-inflammatory properties which help keep health in check.

      2. Vitamin C

      This is a water-soluble vitamin packed with anti-ageing and anti-inflammatory properties, which help slow the ageing process and also help boost immunity.

      3. Vitamin E

      It is also considered an anti-ageing vitamin, which is fat-soluble and helps fight oxidative damage by protecting the cells.

      Other Antioxidants Are

      • Zeaxanthin- Found in spinach and other leafy vegetables
      • Beta-carotene- Found in coloured vegetables like carrots and peas.
      • Lycopene-  Found in watermelon, tomatoes and other red and pink-coloured fruits.
      • Lutein- Found in oranges, corn, and papaya.
      • Vitamin A- Found in dairy products and eggs.
      • Selenium- Found in nuts, cheese, eggs, wheat and rice.
      • Manganese- Found in legumes, oysters, coffee, and soybeans.

      Antioxidant-Rich Foods For Weight Loss

      1. Green Tea 

      It is full of catechins, healthy compounds promoting weight loss. Green tea helps burn calories even when you are resting. It boosts metabolism.

      2. Beans

      Beans are loaded with proteins, antioxidants and fibre, which help slow digestion, keep the stomach fuller for longer, and suppress cravings and hunger resulting in weight loss. They are also beneficial for lung and kidney cancer.

      3. Blueberries

      These berries are rich in vitamins C, K, and carbs. Blueberries also help reduce inflammation. In addition, it aids in lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

      4. Vegetable juice

      Fresh green vegetables are loaded with fibre, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, which aid weight loss, and the fibre content gives the feeling of satiety.

      5. Nuts

      Nuts are rich in antioxidant selenium, which helps fight against the body's free radicals. Also, they are low in carbs and are considered the best snack for weight loss.

      Other Antioxidant-Rich Foods

      Here is the list of antioxidant-rich food. 

      1. Dark chocolate

      According to some research, dark chocolate contains more antioxidants than blueberries and raspberries. Also, dark chocolate antioxidants can help relieve the risk of heart issues, lower inflammation, and reduce high blood pressure.

      A study concluded that dark chocolate could help reduce the risk of heart disease by raising blood antioxidant levels, increasing “good” HDL cholesterol levels and preventing “bad” LDL cholesterol from oxidising.

      2. Strawberries 

      They are rich in antioxidants and vitamin C and are the most well-known berry loved by every age group. Strawberries contain antioxidants named anthocyanins which provide red colour to the berry and help to lower the risk of bad cholesterol in the body and help to increase HDL. 

      3. Kale

      Kale is rich in vitamins K, A and C, potent with antioxidants, and is one of the most healthy and nutritious rich vegetables. Moreover, it helps to balance cell functions and maintain healthy bones.

      4. Red Cabbage

      Compared to regular cabbage, red cabbage has 4 times more antioxidants. Because red cabbage contains anthocyanins which promote colour and antioxidants, you can boost the antioxidant profile of red cabbage by boiling and stirring-frying it. 

      5. Beets

      Beets contain up to 1.7 mmol of antioxidants per 100 grams. Beets have anti-inflammatory properties, which lower the pain in osteoarthritis. In addition, several test-tube studies have linked betalains (antioxidants in beets) to a lower risk of cancers in the colon and digestive tract.

      6. Spinach

      Spinach provides up to 0.9 mmol of antioxidants per 100 grams. In addition, spinach is loaded with zeaxanthin and lutein, which help to protect the eyes from UV light and fight free radicals.

      7. Red wine

      Red wine contains resveratrol polyphenols, which help protect the heart and its vessels.

      Dietary Tips To Incorporate Antioxidants Into Your Diet

      • Have a cup of green tea daily.
      • Include ample vegetables and fruits in your daily meals.
      • Add seeds and nuts like dried fruit, sunflower seeds and flaxseeds as snacks but opt for the unsalted version.
      • Incorporate spices like ginger, pepper, turmeric, cumin, cinnamon and clove in your meal to enhance the antioxidant content and flavour of the food.
      • Add colours to your diet, do not eat everyday dal and rice,  and enhance the antioxidant content of the food by consuming fruits and vegetables.

      The Final Say

      Antioxidants are naturally occurring compounds in your body and food. They fight free radicals in the body, lowering oxidative stress. Oxidative stress triggers cancer, diabetes and heart troubles. 

      Consumption of antioxidants considerably aids in reducing the risk of coming down with such medical conditions. Therefore, you can get many health benefits by consuming antioxidant-rich foods like red grapes, green leafy vegetables, etc.

      FAQs

      1. Why are antioxidants used in food?

      Antioxidants reduce oxidative stress in the body. They also help lower the risk of diabetes, heart diseases and other chronic illnesses.

      2. Which foods have the most antioxidant content?

      Potatoes, carrots, avocados, spinach, and broccoli are the foods that have the highest antioxidant content.

      3. Are antioxidants-rich foods beneficial for fertility?

      Strawberries, raspberries and blueberries contain phytonutrients and anti-inflammatory properties, which are great for boosting fertility in both women and men.

      4. Which antioxidant foods are the best for improving skin and hair quality?

      Green leafy vegetables, nuts and fruits are great for better hair and skin quality.

      5. How do antioxidants affect the skin in the long run?

      Antioxidants have anti-ageing properties that slow the ageing process, reduce wrinkles, and also help to protect against cell damage.

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