It's a complex science but in simple terms antioxidants (molecules) prevent free radicals (atoms) from stealing too many electrons from other components in the body. This thefting process is called oxidation and it has a useful purpose when it comes to eradicating harmful viruses and bacteria. But without the appropriate balance of antioxidants the free radical scavengers go too far and kill normal healthy tissue.
When you get free radical damage, it causes chronic inflammation and that leads to serious disease. The key to unlocking the health benefits of antioxidants is to eat a variety of foods so you get a variety of antioxidants in your diet. Eating a single food high in antioxidants or taking a single type of antioxidant supplement has limited benefits.
To maximize the health benefit of foods that are high in antioxidants include a wide variety of nutritious healthy foods in your diet. You need a good cross-section of antioxidants to prevent inflammation, cancer, clogged arteries, high blood pressure, diabetes and dementia. This critical message about getting a variety of antioxidants is not articulated in most public hype about antioxidants. And it isn't the antioxidants alone that are powerful. It is when antioxidants are coupled with other nutrients that they become the powerful disease preventing agents. And the best way to get these powerful health benefits is to include in your diet a consistent and rotating variety of healthy food high in antioxidants.
Below you will find a list of delicious and healthy food high in antioxidants. Try to buy organic foods to avoid introducing dangerous pesticide-related free radicals into your body. Organically farmed foods also tend to have higher nutritional value. Industrial farming produces food that lacks nutrition because of the over use of soil and other faulty farming practices.
Eating Tip: Use Wolfberries as you would raisins in cereal or trail snacks. Simmer in water for 10 minutes to make a tea that tastes similar to Rose Hip.
New research is published every day about food high in antioxidants. It is hard to keep up with the top ten list but the last time we looked the Wolfberry had the highest concentration of carotenoids antioxidants. Used in Traditional Chinese and Korean, Japanese and Tibetan medicine, the Wolfberry is used as a tonic for the brain and to enhance vision, male fertility, the liver, the kidney and the immune system. Also known as the Lycium Berry, it is reportedly very safe to use with no known side effects. The Goji Berry is the Tibetan variety. As a good source of vitamins B and C along with Zinc and Selenium the Wolfberry is indeed a powerful food high in antioxidants.
Eating Tip: Instead of sugar or honey use a handful of grapes or raisins to sweeten yoghurt and fruit smoothies. Eat raisins right out of the box or sprinkle on cereals.
Warning! Avoid buying raisins (or any dried fruits) that have been dried using sulfur dioxide (golden raisins in particular). Try to buy organic raisins to avoid pesticides.
High in antioxidants grapes are listed among the top ten foods for lowering cholesterol (it’s the flavonoids!). When it comes to protection from heart disease the darker the grape the better! A great colon and liver detoxer, grapes are also good for a number of age-related conditions including inflammation and varicose veins. Raisins outclass grapes as a food high in antioxidants because the antioxidants are concentrated. In particular, raisins are high in the antiaging component selenium. Both grapes and raisins are a fabulous source of energy and fiber.
Eating Tip: Beware of the fat in chocolate. Milk chocolate offers little in the way of antioxidant benefit and is high in sugar and fat.
To get the real benefit of antixodants in chocolate eat dark chocolate that has a cocoa content of at least 70%. The higher the cocoa content the higher the antioxidants and the less sugar and fat.
Like grapes, dark chocolate is a food high in antioxidants as it contains flavonoids which lower cholesterol. The Journal of the American Heart Association reported a study that suggests dark chocolate can lower blood pressure, reduce high cholesterol and improve insulin resistance. A recent report in the Journal of the American Medical Association about a German study confirms that just a small bite of dark chocolate daily reduces blood pressure.
Green tea is a truly accessible food high in antioxidants and its list of health benefits is impressive.
|Strengthens blood vessels (good for varicose veins)||Boosts immunity||Treats cold hands and feet (good for circulation)||Protects the vision|
|Promotes glowing healthy skin||Lowers cholesterol||Increases metabolism
and promotes weight loss
|Prevents many forms of cancer|
Drinking Tip: Steep the tea for at least 3 minutes to get the most anitoxidant benefit. For a cool summer beverage drink green tea iced or use to make fruit smoothies.
The key antioxidants in green tea are bioflavonoids which protect against both heart disease and cancer-causing carcinogens. Green tea is said to lower bad cholesterol and raise good cholesterol and it has an effect on metabolism that promotes weight loss.
|Celebrity testimonials are all well and good, but none of them can top this: tea is the beverage most commonly enjoyed by centenarians around the world.
The Secrets of Longevity: Hundreds of Ways to Live to be 100, Dr Maoshing Ni, 2006, p.19
As food high in antioxidants the berries have a wide range of wonderful benefits including antiaging properties because of their high vitamin C content. Vitamin C boosts the immune system and coupled with other antioxidants promotes the production of collagen an essential element for healthy tissue including skin and bones . High in fiber the berries are also good for the colon.
|Raspberries||are a good low-calorie but nutrient dense snack.|
|Strawberries||have a unique flavonoid makeup that is particularly effective against inflammation, cancer and heart disease.|
|Blueberries||improve vision, protect against macular degeneration and may help prevent Alzheimer's.|
Eating Tip: Use frozen berries to make fruit smoothies. Add fresh or dried berries to your heart-healthy home-made meusli.
Learn about the health benefits of Cinnamon, a spice with high antioxidant activity.
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