1. What are antioxidants? We read about them every day. They are on our plate, in our skincare. What’s their basic function?
Ever seen a metal object that sits outside get rusty? A cut fruit go brown? Astoundingly the causes of these events are triggered by a common and natural process called oxidation. Even though oxygen is essential for your body’s health, exposure to the same i.e. free radicals can be detrimental to health. Factors that cause oxidation are exposure to environmental factors such as toxic substances, pollution and lifestyle factors such as smoking, frequent consumption of processed and packaged foods. To protect your body from these effects of oxidation, you need to consume natural anti-oxidants. Anti-oxidants as the name suggests fight against oxidation and are prized for their ability to fight heart disease, cancer and ageing. Our body is designed to regenerate its very own antioxidants and we can get them from foods and dietary supplements.
2. Best antioxidant rich foods to include in our diet and why?
Anti-oxidants rich foods include fruits and vegetables, grains, nuts and seafood etc. Some of the common antioxidants are listed below:
- Beta-Carotene: This anti-oxidant works by giving protection against heart disease, cancer, respiratory and immune system, arthritis and diabetes.
- Sources: Dark green leafy vegetables, carrots, pumpkin, sweet potato etc
- Vitamin C: Some of its primary benefits include cancer prevention, protection against cardiovascular diseases, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, Parkinson’s, acne and improving vision.
- ANTIOXIDANTS: Raw peppers, parsley, broccoli, lettuce, papaya, berries etc.
- Vitamin E: Plays a main role in heart and circulatory system. Sources: almonds, sunflower seeds and green leafy vegetables.
- Lycopene: Aids by prevention against heart disease, cancer and exercise induced asthma. It also aids by improving vision. Sources: Tomatoes, watermelon, guava etc.
- Flavonoids: It works uniquely by prevention against allergies, skin and gum diseases. Sources: Dry beans, fruits, green tea, herbs and spices.
- Quercetin: They play a main role in fighting against inflammation, histamines, allergies, etc. Sources: Onions, chives, leeks, scallions, garlic etc.