Antioxidants that work as part of a balanced diet.
In Irish fashion news, we are going to take a look at good antioxidants to be included as part of any balanced diet
We all know the importance of maintaining a balanced diet. But while challenging, it is certainly not impossible. Maybe you are okay with your diet. And maybe you are just looking for some extra punches of nutrition. Or maybe you are unhappy and want to make your diet healthier?
Whatever your reason, it is always a good idea to incorporate antioxidants into your life. But how do you know which ones are the best? We can help you out with that. Keep reading to find out the strongest antioxidants to add to your diet.
What Are Antioxidants?
Before we get into it, we should explain what antioxidants are. They are naturally occurring compounds found in vitamins and minerals.
And they fight against free radicals to keep your body in optimal health. Convinced you need to start adding more to your diet? Keep on reading to find out how.
Why Are They Important For Your Body?
To understand the importance of antioxidants, we need to talk about free radicals. They are constantly being formed in your body. And without antioxidants, they can do serious harm.
But free radicals can serve important functions as well. For example, your immune system uses them to fight infections. So, your body needs to maintain a balance between the two.
When there are more free radicals, this can lead to oxidative stress. And if this is prolonged, this can lead to damage in your DNA, which increases risk of things like cancer.
There are several lifestyle factors as well as environment and stress that increase free radical formation. These can be things like air pollution, alcohol, smoking, high blood sugar levels as well as others.
Directly promoting eye health, beta carotene is an essential nutrient for your diet. And it also gives red, orange and yellow veggies their vibrant colour.
Beta Carotene is considered a provitamin A carotenoid. This means that your body will convert it to vitamin A, which is retinol.
As well as all that, beta carotene is also an antioxidant and reduces oxidative stress in your body. Antioxidants can help protect against conditions like heart disease, certain cancers and conditions like Alzheimer’s. it can also help improve your cognitive function, your lung health and your skin condition.
If you are looking to add more beta carotene into your diet, look for sweet potatoes, leafy greens, carrots, broccoli and peppers.
We cannot praise vitamin E enough. It stops the production of oxidative stress, which damages cells and can lead to chronic diseases, like heart disease.
And it also supports your immune system. Vegetable oils are the best sources of this powerful vitamin. And you can also include more avocados and nuts like almonds into your diet for more vitamin E.
We have all heard of vitamin C. And not only does it balance your immune system, it can also neutralise free radicals. This protects your body against oxidative stress.
You can find vitamin C in most fruits and veggies, like broccoli and oranges. However, if they are not to your taste, you can always go with cacao. It is another very potent source of this wonder vitamin.
This is a powerful polyphenol that has a ton of health benefits. It can protect against heart disease, lower your cholesterol, improve skin’s firmness and even lower blood sugars. And it is found in small amounts in the skin of red grapes, peanuts and blueberries.
Want to improve your exercise performance? Need help regulating your blood pressure or reducing inflammation? Quercetin can help you out with that. And under the supervision of your doctor, it can help with asthma, hay fever, gout and chronic fatigue syndrome. It is one of the most abundant dietary flavonoids.
This mineral plays a very important part in your immune system ability to function, your metabolism and DNA synthesis.
The good news is that you only need small amounts of it. And it is very easy to implement it into your diet. By far, the best source of selenium is the brazil nut. One nut is enough to give you all the selenium you need for the day. But if you are not a fan or allergic, you can also get it through protein like chicken, beef and fish.
This fat-soluble compound helps to generate energy in your cells. While your body tends to produce it naturally, this production slows down with age. Low levels of CoQ10 have been linked with increased susceptibility to oxidative stress.
And this is especially true through sun damage. The best sources of this compound are organic meat, pork and chicken, fatty fish like trout and herring as well as spinach, strawberries and lentils.
These are powerful types of flavanols that have strong antioxidant properties. And you might find them in your favourite tea, particularly green, white and black. One of the best studied catechins is EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) and it has a profound effect on oxidative stress and inflammation.
Your fruits, veggies, legumes, nuts and seeds are not only rich in vitamins, they also contain plant compounds your body needs.
And one powerful plant compound is anthocyanin. A member of the flavonoid family, this antioxidant is purported to reduce inflammation and protect against cancer, Alzheimer’s heart disease as well as type 2 diabetes.
So, you may want to add this powerhouse to your diet. The best source of anthocyanin are blueberries, blackberries, cranberries, red cabbage and cherries.
This is a plant nutrient with powerful antioxidant properties. And it is the pigment that gives pink and red fruits their signature colour. Think grapefruit, tomatoes and watermelons.
Lycopene has been linked to numerous health benefits from heart health to protection against sunburn and some cancers.
We all know that our eyes need nutrition for optimal health. And one of the best nutrients to take is lutein. This is a part of the carotenoid family, which is found mostly in plants. Carotenoids are responsible for the vibrant colours seen in fruits and veggies.
Lutein can suppress inflammation in your eyes, defend against free radicals and oxidative stress and protect tissue from sunlight damage.
It can also reduce glare impairment, protect your eyes against blue light and reduce cell loss. The best sources of lutein are kiwis, spinach, grapes, zucchinis and different types of squash.
If you have not heard of curcumin, you probably know about turmeric. It has many health benefits for your body and that is mainly due to the active ingredient, curcumin.
It is a very potent anti-inflammatory that is used to manage chronic conditions like inflammatory bowel disease.
This is a plant compound found in many cruciferous veggies. Think broccoli, kale, cabbage and cauliflower. And, as the name might suggest, it is rich in sulfur.
Sulforaphane seems to be have anti-cancer properties and support your heart’s health. It is anti-inflammatory and helps to protect DNA.
Chlorogenic Acid is a natural antioxidant found in coffee beans. People mainly take it for aiding in weight loss and lowering blood pressure. There is some research to suggest that it can also lower blood sugars, but more research needs to be done to verify.
While you might be tempted to reach for that morning cup of joe, there are other sources of chlorogenic acid.
As well as coffee, you can also find chlorogenic acid in pears, apples, eggplant, blueberries, tomatoes, potatoes and strawberries. The best source, however, seems to be artichoke hearts. Steaming your hearts will allow for the most antioxidants to appear.
There is a reason why your mother wanted you to eat your greens when you were younger. Nature packed veggies like kale, spinach and broccoli with potent antioxidants called flavonoids.
And one unique flavonoid that gives you kale and green tea superfood status is kaempferol. Which is pronounced ‘camp-fur-all.’
It is a natural substance found in veggies, fruits and herbs. We know that these are healthy for you. However, you might not know of the importance of the flavonoids they contain.
Kaempferol are more potent antioxidants that Vitamin C and E. And its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties can help to reduce the risk of many chronic diseases.
Antioxidants can fight free radicals in your body. These are uncharged molecules with an uneven number of electrons. And they wreak havoc on the body. They can do this by causing oxidative stress. This can lead to anything from heart disease, cancer to early signs of ageing.
We don’t blame you if you have not heard of this one. beta-cryptoxanthin is a carotenoid that can be directly converted to Vitamin A.
There are many carotenoids that play important roles in our health. Some protect our cells and tissues from stress and free radicals, enhance our immune system and suppress some cancers.
When it comes to beta-cryptoxanthin, it can be helpful with our eye health, growth and development and immune response.
And, with how much time we spend staring at screens at home, work or school, beta-cryptoxanthin sounds like a good thing.
Carotenoids are a fat-soluble compound. This means that they are best absorbed by the body with fat. And unlike some fruits and vegetables, cooking with carotenoids increases the strength of nutrients
when they enter our bloodstream. And you will typically find beta-cryptoxanthin in peaches, papayas and tangerines. Before taking any health or food supplements, always consult with your doctor or dietitian first.
Antioxidants that work as part of a balanced diet. Irish fashion news.