Medically reviewed by Ashwathy V. Pillai, Postgraduate Degree in Dietetics & Applied Nutrition
Why are berries, dark chocolate and leafy greens considered excellent for health?
Simply because they are full of antioxidants. These foods protect your body from external and internal pollutants.
So what are antioxidants ?
They are a class of molecule that includes nutrients like vitamin A, E, C which protect the body against free radicals. Naturally occurring antioxidants include flavonoids, tannins, phenols and lignans.
Plant-based foods are the best sources. These include fruits, vegetables and their juices, whole-grain products, nuts, seeds, herbs and spices, and even cocoa.
Antioxidants are found in nature, in animals, fruits, and vegetables but they can also be synthetically manufactured.
What Do Antioxidants Do To Our Body?
The cells that make up our muscles, organs, and most other parts of your body are constantly working to keep us alive and healthy.
To do that, our cells breathe, break down, reproduce, and perform a number of other functions many of which require a chemical process called oxidation.
Oxidation produces free radicals, which in some cases can actually cause damage to your cells, research shows, causing a condition known as oxidative stress.
This can trigger serious health issues, like cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s. Here is when antioxidants come in to our rescue.
When we have too many of those free radicals floating around causing trouble, certain antioxidants — there are thousands of different types of them can tie them up and keep them from doing harm.
Antioxidants boost our overall health.
Benefits of Consuming Antioxidant Rich Food
Research suggests that when it comes to longevity and overall health, taking in antioidant rich foods can have many benefits. These include:
- Slows down signs of aging, including of the skin, eyes, tissue, joints, heart and brain.
- Gives you healthier skin and hair
- Reduces cancer risk.
- Detoxifies your system
- Longer life span.
- Protects against heart disease and stroke.
- Less risk for cognitive problems, such as dementia.
- Reduces risk for vision loss or disorders like macular degeneration and cataracts.
- Antioxidants are also added to food or household products to prevent oxidation and spoilage.
Most of us don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables, and if you smoke, eat in a haphazard manner or live in a polluted city, it is a good idea to increase your antioxidant intake.
To learn more about eating right, check in with our Possible Nutritionist for a free consultation.