Antioxidants can prevent cell damage and reduce the effects of ageing as well as preventing common diseases by combating the free-radicals produced by cells as part of their normal functioning. You can buy antioxidants as supplements and also consume them is as whole foods.
If you are involved in any sort of fitness regime then antioxidants maximises the training effect.
Examples of antioxidants include Beta-carotene, Lutein, Lycopene, Selenium and vitamins A, C and E. If you want to get antioxidants into your diet, fruit and veg are the best sources – but which of these have the highest concentration of anti-oxidants?
The USDA rates blueberries as the best source of antioxidants you can get. For centuries, Native Americans consumed them as a food and used them for a medicine and recent research shows that they really do help to reduce brain ageing, fight cardiovascular disease, suppress cancer and more. They’re full of bioflavonoids such as anthocyanins and proanthoantocyanidins that will help you to prevent disease.
Strawberries rank among the top antioxidant fruits you can get – but be aware: you need to get them fresh and you shouldn’t store them for more than two days. If you want the best from your strawberries, the ideal is to grow them in the garden and eat them freshly picked.
This reddish-purple berry from Central and South America is hot news for those seeking a super-effective anti-oxidant. The fruit pulp is richer in antioxidants than blueberries and strawberries, but getting fresh acai berries mightn’t be all that easy!
These berries have been used in fresh or dried form for centuries in Chinese medicine. There aren’t many modern medical trials, but it is certain that they contain anti-oxidants that would prevent macular degeneration (age-related loss of eyesight) among other ailments related to the accumulation of free radicals.
Whether or not you’re fond of spinach, it’s well worth including in your diet since it’s one of the top antioxidant foods you can get. It’s rich in Beta-carotene and a range of vitamins and features high on the list of plant-based foods you should consume to maintain your health.
This nutritious super-food is packed with antioxidants such as Beta-carotene and flavonoids, both of which are known fighters against the development of cancer. Vitamin K is another antioxidant that Kale provides and although this vegetable might be a trifle unusual, it isn’t too hard to get hold of.
Carrots get their orange colour from various forms of carotene, a group of antioxidants that have enjoyed a lot of attention and been the subject of a lot of research. A study conducted over a ten year period in the Netherlands suggest that you’re far less likely to develop cardiovascular ailments if you eat lots of carrots and another study showed a link between Beta-carotene and a reduction in macular degeneration.
Spirulina is the new sensation in the world of health foods and healthy eating. It gives you a rich supply of carotenoids, bioflavonoids and vitamins that will fight free radicals, helping to keep your body healthy. According to its supporters, Spirulina protects you against cardiovascular disease, cancer, macular degeneration and other ailments associated with the presence of free radicals.
Do you love chocolate? Well, the cocoa in chocolate is actually good for you! The flavonoids and procyanidins in cocoa can help to protect you against cardiovascular disease according to studies conducted by the American Society for clinical nutrition. Raw cocoa contains more antioxidants than green tea.
Green tea has been prized for its health benefits for thousands of years. One of the main reasons it has gained this reputation is thanks to the flavonoids and a lesser known group of antioxidants known as catechins. Drinking green tea several times a day will help your body to get rid of free-radicals and helps to prevent other illnesses associated with the products of oxidation,
Other whole food antioxidants
Black plums and prunes are known to kick a strong antioxidant punch as are raisins, blackberries, raspberries, plums, oranges, red grapes and cherries. Among vegetables, Brussels sprouts, alfalfa sprouts, beets, red bell peppers, onions (especially when raw), fresh corn on the cob and aubergines are among the noted sources of antioxidants.