Inside our body occurs several chemical and biological reactions. One such reaction is Oxidation, where a chemical reaction produces free radicals. These radicals form a chain reaction and can be damaging to the cells. Antioxidants are responsible for breaking the chain and maintaining good health.

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These antioxidants are available in various elements like Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Minerals, Manganese, Selenium and beta-carotenes. The importance of antioxidants came to light when scientists found free radicals were the reason behind damage to vision, arteries and other ailments. They found that people with low antioxidant levels were consuming less amount of fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants.

Why do you need to eat antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables?

Your body produces some antioxidants but with increasing number of free radicals, it requires additional antioxidants from fruits and vegetables. These additional antioxidants eliminate the free radicals from the blood stream and benefits the body by preventing damage from these free radicals. Certain antioxidants benefit certain parts of the body like beta-carotene?s are good for the eyes, flavonoids are good for the heart and so on.

Benefits of antioxidants:

For skin: Exposure to UV rays produces free radicals in the body which can lead heat burn, skin ageing prematurely and skin cancers. Beta carotene along with Vitamin E provides powerful and necessary antioxidants that helps destroy these free radicals.

For immune system: Singlet oxygen causes free radicals that attacks the immune system. Antioxidants Astaxanthin is several hundred times powerful than beta- carotenes and effectively fights off the free radicals improving the immune system.

Other benefits: Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, beta- carotene, lycopene, selenium and lutein helps in slowing premature ageing, reduces the risk of heart problems, improves eyesight and reduces problems with memory. Beta-carotene and Vitamin E helps reduce the risk of developing cancer.

Foods rich in antioxidants:

Vitamin A – Milk, Eggs, Butter and Liver.

Vitamin C ? Orange, Tomato, Cauliflower, Broccoli, Bell peppers, Papaya, Strawberry, Kiwi, Kale and Brussels sprouts.

Vitamin E ? Spinach, Kale, Corn oil, soybean oil, canola oil, sunflower oil, almonds, hazelnuts and peanuts.

Lutein ? Green leafy vegetables, corn, spinach, broccoli, kale, papaya, peas and oranges.

Beta-carotene ? Carrots, papayas, mangoes, pumpkin, peach, apricots, sweet potatoes, peas, broccoli, green leafy vegetables, beets, squash and spinach.

Selenium ? Nuts, rice, wheat, fish, beef, corn, chicken, eggs, turkey, cheese and bread.

Lycopene ? Grapes, watermelon and tomatoes.

 

Top 10 antioxidant foods:

Antioxidants are measured by the term Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity (ORAC). The levels of ORAC in foods are measured per 100 grams. While there is no recommended daily intake of these antioxidant rich foods, including as much as you can in your diet is always good. Here is a list of top 10 antioxidant rich foods.

S. No Foods ORAC Score
1 Goji berries 25,000
2 Dark chocolate 21,000
3 Pecans 17,000
4 Blueberries 14,000
5 Elderberries 14,000
6 Cranberries 9,500
7 Artichoke 9,400
8 Kidney beans 8,400
9 Blackberries 5,300
10 Cilantro 5,100

 

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