Antioxidants are compounds that may help prevent cell damage in the body. When an individual takes them in large amounts, antioxidants may help defend the body against oxidative stress from potentially harmful free radicals, which are unstable atoms.
When free radicals produce in a person’s blood, they can create oxidative stress. Oxidative stress may increase the risk of developing cancer, heart disease, and many other chronic illnesses and health diseases.
Many healthful foods contain antioxidants. If a person consumes these foods regularly, they may increase their antioxidant levels, potentially helping them prevent the damage oxidative stress.
In this article, we list some of the most healthful foods that an individual can take to boost the antioxidants in their diet.
Blueberries are packed with many nutrients while also being low in calories. A study showed that wild blueberries contain a great quantity of antioxidants.
Studies on blueberries have shown that these fruits have healthful effects as a result of their antioxidant content.
A 2016 review examined the anthocyanins that occur naturally in blueberries and other plants. Anthocyanins belong to a group of chemicals that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
The review stated that anthocyanins may help prevent high levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or bad cholesterol as well as lowering the risk of heart disease and blood pressure.
Dark chocolate has high levels of nutrients and antioxidants. Researchers have connected dark chocolate to a range of potential health benefits, including:
- Reduce the risk of heart disease
- Lessen inflammation
- Reduce the risk f high blood pressure
- Promote good cholesterol
One study review involving close to 300 individuals showed that dark chocolate helps reduce both upper and lower blood pressure.
Pecans have high levels of good fat, calories, minerals, and antioxidants.
One study state that the body can absorb antioxidants from pecans, increasing their levels in the blood.
It also found that taking raw pecans helps lower the blood levels of oxidized LDL cholesterol, which mean that these nuts help prevent heart disease.
Strawberries are packed with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Strawberries red color is due to anthocyanins, which have antioxidant powers.
A study showed that taking anthocyanin less the levels of LDL cholesterol in participants with high cholesterol. By lowering LDL cholesterol levels, anthocyanins may help in heart disease.
People can take raw strawberries as a snack or as part of a salad or other dish.
Although strawberries are an ingredient in some baked items, these items are rarely healthful but not a good choice for people trying to lose weight.
Red cabbage has many nutrients, including vitamins A, C, and K plus several antioxidants.
Red cabbage have red kale contains anthocyanins. Additionally to giving the vegetable its red color, these groups of antioxidants helps promote heart health, prevent cancer, and reduce inflammation.
According to one study anthocyanins have the following health benefits:
- anti-inflammatory properties
- anticancer properties
- maintains diabetes
- promote weight maintain
- good for heart disease
However, more research is still necessary to determine the health effects of eating red cabbage. A individual can take red cabbage as part of a salad or as a cooked vegetable.
A study has shown that pinto beans could help in suppressing certain types of cancer.
Beans are great source of protein and dietary fiber. Some beans, such as pinto beans, are rich in antioxidants.
Pinto beans have a plant flavonoid called kaempferol, which may help suppress cancer cell growth and lessen inflammation. Several studies connect kaempferol to the specific cancers, including:
However researchers do not know much about the antioxidant effect of kaempferol in humans. Now, they have primarily carried out studies in animals and test tubes.
Purple and red grape has vitamin C, selenium and antioxidants.
Two antioxidants that occur in grapes, namely anthocyanin and proanthocyanin, may help a person from heart disease or cancer.
However, there is a need for research to show the exact effects that eating grapes has on heart health and cancer risk.
Spinach is a green, leafy vegetable packed with many vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It is low in calories, making it a great choice as an addition to salads and entrees.
Zeaxanthin and lutein are two antioxidants in spinach that may good for eye health. They may help prevent damage from ultraviolet (UV) rays and other harmful light waves.
A review on lutein and zeaxanthin noted that many studies have investigated their role in age-related macular regeneration. The researchers also suggested how people could take more of these antioxidants in their diets, naming dark leafy greens, eggs, and pistachios as sources.
Beets are vegetables that have antioxidants belonging to a class of pigments called betalains. Betalains help in prevent colon cancer and digestive issues.
Beets are also a rich source of dietary fiber, iron, folate, and potassium. These elements may help with suppressing inflammation.
One study noted that betalains show promise for reducing free radicals and helping prevent cancer. However, research has not yet explained the effectiveness of eating beets for these benefits.
Many orange vegetables contain vitamin A and other nutrients. These vegetables contain great amounts of phytochemicals that can help with heart disease and cancer prevention. Examples of orange vegetables with high antioxidant levels include:
- Sweet potatoes
- Acorn squash
- Butternut squash
There is limited prove to suggest how best to serve orange vegetables. Mostly, people cook them, but an individual can take some varieties, such as carrots, raw as a snack or part of a salad.
There are many common foods that individuals can take to increase the number of antioxidants that they consume.
The antioxidants in these foods may help for heart and eye health, prevent cancer, and protect against other diseases that scientists associate with harmful free radicals.
However, studies still need to understand the extent to which each of these foods helps people acquire higher levels of antioxidants. They also need to find out how effective each food in disease prevention.