Antioxidant-Rich Foods: Super Foods Containing Antioxidants

Antioxidant-Rich Foods: Super Foods Containing Antioxidants
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What is an antioxidant anyway and why is it necessary? Oxidation is a cause of many long and short-term health issues. Oxidation occurs when

oxygen molecules become free radicals. This can happen by processes in the human body or due to environmental factors. Unstable free radicals, each without an essential electron, are driven to replace that imbalance by attacking enzymes, DNA or proteins in cells. Free radicals also can invade the cell membrane.

While this activity occurs thousands of times every day in most bodies, free radicals are the source of serious ailments, including cancer, heart atack and Alzheimer’s disease. Keys to longer and healthier lives are antioxidants, which fight free radicals.

Antioxidants are the body’s first line of defense against the harmful attacks of oxidation and free radicals' attacks on neighboring cells. The thousands of phytonutrients include polyphenols, carotenoids and phytoestrogens, which protect and promote the health of cells. Phytonutrients, which form antioxidants, are found in many foods and are powerful aids to systemic wellness.

Foods Containing Antioxidants

While the human body produces antioxidants as a natural course, foods containing antioxidants help the body to protect cells from the negative effects of free radicals, including cell mutation and cell proliferation. These antioxidant-rich foods are known as Super Foods and include, but are not limited to, all beans, blueberries, oats, and salmon.

Benefits

Lima Beans

Beans are important foods containing antioxidants. Green, pinto, lima beans, garbanzos, and all beans are rich in fiber, B vitamins, minerals and phytonutirents. Dried, fresh or canned (as long as it is low in sodium) provide antioxidant benefits. Some are concerned about certain side-effects of beans, which can be hard on the digestive system and cause flatuence. This can be avoided by adding them to your diet slowly, eat them often and in small amounts. This gives your digestive system a chance to adjust.

Blueberries are such a powerful source of antioxidants that someone ought to create a rhapsody for them. Steven Pratt, M.D., writes that blueberries have more antioxidant properties than any other fruit or vegetable (not to mention being delicious in pancakes). Blueberries have anti-aging and anti-inflammatory properties. They decrease heart and other vascular diseases and may protect against cancer.

Ode to an oat: Oats are one of the few foods that the FDA allows to make the important health claim, “Reduces the risk of heart disease.” High in fiber, protein and minerals, oats also contain phytonutrients and vitamin E, which qualifies them as Super Foods. Oats are delicious with blueberries.

Wild salmon, not farm raised and not color added, has selenium and marine-derived omega-3 fatty acids. The latter is an essential element for the body to build healthy cell membranes.

Resources

The Super Foods

Pratt, Steven, M.D., Super Foods: Fourteen Foods that Will Change Your Life. William Morrow: New York, 2004.

Images

Blueberry by the_girl

Lima Beans by kthread

Disclaimer

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