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Antioxidants Rich Food and Associated Health Benefits

Jayapriya is a Med-student who is also passionate about writing informative articles.

role-of-antioxidants-in-protecting-our-health

" A SOUND MIND IN A SOUND BODY"

- Philosopher Thales

What else can best illustrate the importance of health in leading a happy life. All of us want to live a long life and are ready to do anything for it. But, we often overlook some basic things along the process. One such fact that we tend to neglect is how antioxidants can help us in achieving this dream when added to our daily diet!

What Are Antioxidants

The term 'Antioxidant' is used to denote substances that inhibit oxidation. In our body, oxidation or breakdown of food lead to release of not only nutrients but also 'free radicals' such as superoxide anion, hydrogen peroxide, etc as byproducts. These free radicals are unstable and can potentially damage our body cells.This in turn cause several health problems including cancer formation. Consuming Antioxidants has proven to be beneficial in preventing such free-radical injury related diseases.

Vitamins acting as Antioxidants:

1) Beta Carotene (Provitamin A): All carotenoids have antioxidant properties. Among them, beta- Carotene is the most significant one. It is a precursor of vitamin A, usually found in plant foods.

2) Vitamin-C (Ascorbic acid) : It is an important water soluble vitamin with antioxidant properties found in bright colored vegetables and fruits eg) Orange and lemon. Besides helping in collagen formation, Vitamin-C efficiently participates in free radical scavenging.

3) Vitamin-E ( Tocopherol): It is a fat soluble antioxidant found in all cellular membranes. It prevents cell membrane damage due to lipid peroxidation. ( consequence of free radical damage)

Other notable antioxidants:

  • Selenium is a micronutrient required by our body that works with Vitamin E in preventing oxidative stress.
  • Lycopene is a carotenoid that is predominantly found in red or pink colored fruits/ vegetables such as tomato and watermelon.
  • Catechin is an organic compound with potent antioxidant activity. It is found in green tea, cocoa and berries.
  • Apart from these, Caffeine in coffee, Curcuminoid in turmeric, etc also have antioxidant properties.
role-of-antioxidants-in-protecting-our-health

Dietary Sources of Antioxidants

ANTIOXIDANTDIETARY SOURCE

Beta Carotene [Provitamin A]

Carrots, green fruits and vegetables, spinach, turnip

Vitamin C [Ascorbic acid]

Citrus fruits {Oranges}, gooseberry, guava, melons, green vegetables {cabbage, spinach}

Vitamin E [Tocopherols]

Vegetable oils {sunflower oil, peanut oil}, whole grains, legumes, leafy vegetables.

Selenium

Sea foods, meats, whole grains

Lycopene

Tomato, pink guava, watermelon, papaya

Catechins

Green tea

Curcuminoids

Turmeric

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Role in cancer prevention:

  • Exposure to ionising radiations or environmental toxins can lead to production of free radicals.
  • These can cause DNA damage leading to occurance of mutations, which eventually cause cancer formation.
role-of-antioxidants-in-protecting-our-health
  • Antioxidants prevent Atherosclerosis. (hardening of large blood vessels)
  • It also reduces complications of CAD (Coronary artery disease).
  • Researches reveal that patients with CAD, taking antioxidants either through their diet or in the form of supplements have shown to have reduced mortality and associated illnesses.

Helps in reducing weight:

  • Consuming antioxidant rich food along with a balanced diet can help in weight loss. Green tea [containing catechins], nuts, Vegetable juices, blackberries are some choices that you can make to help you in your weight loss journey.
  • Researches performed by scientists reveal that, the amount of fat produced by cells is greatly reduced on consumption of Antioxidant rich food!
role-of-antioxidants-in-protecting-our-health

Anti-aging benefits:

  • Eating food rich in antioxidants can make your skin look younger and healthier.
  • A majority of Anti-wrinkle or Anti-aging creams available in the market contain antioxidants like vitamin- C as a common ingredient.
  • Topical application of these creams can neutralize the excess free radicals produced by UV rays that reach your skin by penetrating the sunscreen.

Conclusion:

In addition to the above mentioned benefits, it also proves to be an efficient anti-inflammatory agent and an Immunity booster.

Knowing the health benefits of these compounds, it is of utmost importance to include them in our daily diet for a healthy and long life!

Eating healthy food rich in nutrients, avoiding preserved food loaded with harmful chemicals, exercising regularly and most importantly, drinking plenty of water are some small steps that you can follow in order to live a healthy life!

role-of-antioxidants-in-protecting-our-health

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

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