Importance of Antioxidants and How Can We Get Them from Various Foods
|Importance of Antioxidants and How Can We Get Them from Various Foods||Darrell Miller||12/18/15|
December 18, 2015 04:29 AM
Author: Darrell Miller
Subject: Importance of Antioxidants and How Can We Get Them from Various Foods
Antioxidants, also known as anti-oxidation agents, are nutrients that help reduce the harmful effects of oxidants in the body. We all know that our body cells need oxygen for energy and growth. As our body cells use oxygen to create energy and sustain life, free radicals are released in the process as a byproduct. Antioxidants help combat the damage caused by oxidation.
If you have ever left a slice of apple in open air, you must have seen that after some time the flesh of the fruit turns brown. This is a result of oxidation. However, if you apply a little lemon juice on the slice, and then leave it in open air, the apple slice will remain white. This is because of the antioxidant present in lemon juice. Similarly, the antioxidants present in the food we consume do the same thing, neutralizes the free radicals, and thus keeps our cells protected. Studies have proven that people who consume antioxidant-rich food are at lower risk of developing many diseases, including cancer. Thus, it is very important for you to include these important nutrients in your everyday diet.
Foods Rich in Antioxidants
These important nutrients exist in many foods, and you can easily get them through a well-balanced diet. Nutrients having antioxidant benefits include vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, beta-carotene, and manganese. A large group of phytochemicals also works as antioxidants.
- Vitamin C
One of the richest sources of vitamin C is sweet red peppers, and one single cup of these peppers can provide you 190 mg or 200 percent of your required daily intake. You can enjoy 100 percent of your daily intake from a single cup of green peppers, orange juice, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli. One cup serving of cauliflower, cantaloupe, tomatoes, grapefruit, blackberries, and raspberries offers 32 percent of women’s and 25 percent of men’s suggested daily intake.
- Vitamin E
The richest source of vitamin E includes hazelnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, pinto beans, peanuts, and vegetable oils like canola, corn, and safflower oil. 1 cup of cooked beans, 1-tablespoon vegetable oil and a one-ounce serving of seeds and nuts, offers 2 – 7 mg of vitamin E. These make 13 to 47 percent of your suggested daily intake. Certain vitamin C rich foods also fulfill 10 percent of your daily-required intake of vitamin E including blackberries, raspberries, broccoli, tomatoes, and sweet peppers.
Phytochemical antioxidants like carotenoids, resveratrol, and flavonoids can easily be identified because of the pigments they offer to the vegetables and fruits, like orange, red, yellow, purple and blue colors. Purple and dark blue fruits include blackberries, blueberries and grapes, and these are rich in resveratrol. Carrots, pumpkin, tomatoes, oranges, and red peppers are rich in carotenoids, which offer them a shade of red, orange, and yellow. Dark greens, particularly leafy greens, are rich sources of antioxidants, but the presence of green chlorophyll hides the other colors.
- Other sources
Dark chocolates are rich in flavonoids, but to enjoy the benefits you need to opt for those that have cacao solids. Milk chocolates and white chocolates do not offer flavonoids. Wine, tea, and coffee are also sources of flavonoids. You can find selenium in beans, nuts, and animal products like milk, beef, pork, chicken, and fish. The best sources of manganese are nuts, pineapple, beans, sweet potatoes, and brown rice.