Sources of Antioxidants
Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine Focused on Energetics of Food
Sources of Antioxidants
Public health organizations continuously recommend that we eat 7-13 servings of fruits and vegetables per day, because they are rich in antioxidants and are an excellent source of dietary fiber.
Moreover, substituting fruits and vegetables, which are nutrient dense, for processed foods, which are calorie dense, can help people achieve long term control of their weight. Natural antioxidants are also found in whole grains. In particular, barley and oats should be included, if a person wants a rich antioxidant diet.
Antioxidants are vitamins and compounds that reduce the effects of oxidative stress on the human body. Oxidative stress can lead to the formation of free radicals, which through a chain reaction can lead to the growth of cancerous cells and tumors.
Natural antioxidants can stop this chain reaction. So, some experts believe that a rich antioxidant diet can prevent cancer. The American Cancer Society focuses, in part, on the importance of food sources of antioxidants found in fruits, vegetables and whole grains for cancer prevention.
The best known sources of antioxidants are fruits and vegetables. Natural antioxidants are as important to plants as they are to humans for preventing oxidative stress and damage from UV light. Multiple types of natural antioxidants are needed to maintain the complex system that prevents cell damage and death.
According to a new study published in Neurology, eating fruits and vegetables decreases the risk of developing dementia. The study followed 8,085 men and women age 65 and older for four years and found that those who consumed fruits and vegetables every day were 28% less likely to develop dementia than those who ate these foods less often.
In addition, risk was also decreased by the consumption of omega-3 fatty acids, while there was an elevated risk for those who had a high consumption of omega-6 fatty acids.
Omega-3's can be found in foods such as salmon, mackerel, canola oil, flaxseed oil, and walnut oil while meat, eggs, safflower oil, corn oil, and soybean oil are sources of omega-6's. Research has shown that typical Western diets tend to be deficient in omega-3 fatty acids and have excessive amounts of omega-6 fatty acids.
The best antioxidant diet should include a variety of different colored fruits and vegetables. The colors are, in some cases, the source of antioxidants.
Vitamin C and E are two of the best known antioxidants and are found in most fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Beta-carotene is a lesser known antioxidant, but no less important. The body uses it to create vitamin A, which is important to good vision and bone health.
One of the best vegetables with antioxidants known as beta-carotenes are carrots, but they can also be found in oranges and papayas. Papayas are also one of the sources of known as beta-cryptoxanthin, which is being studied for its potential in cancer treatment.
Lutein and Zeaxanthin are found in large quantities in the eyes. These natural antioxidants are being recommended to prevent the age related diseases of the eyes: cataracts and macular degeneration. Dietary sources of antioxidants known as lutein and zeaxanthin include broccoli and kale.
is believed to reduce the risk of prostate cancer. Dietary sources of antioxidants known as lycopene include the tomato, which is also rich in vitamin C and other natural antioxidants.
Anthocyanins are natural antioxidants that may help the body maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Recent research showed that anthocyanins could boost insulin production by up to 50%.
One of the best dietary sources of antioxidants known as anthocyanins is the Acerola cherry. So, the best antioxidant diet should include the Acerola cherry, but they are relatively expensive for a fruit and sometimes difficult to find, since they are not always in season.
Anthocyanins have also been shown to be natural anti-inflammatories; in short, natural pain relievers. Chronic inflammation has also been associated with an increased risk of cancer, but anti-inflammatory drugs are not effective for reducing this type of inflammation.
The value of fruits, vegetables and whole grains to human health is not limited to the natural antioxidants they contain. The best antioxidant diet, one that is rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains, could also be the best diet to prevent heart disease, cancer, type II diabetes, inflammatory bowel diseases or chronic and age-related diseases of all types. This type of diet could equal a longer and healthier life.
If you do not always get your recommended 7-13 servings of fruits, vegetables and whole grains per day, you may want to consider
buying a health nutrition supplement consisting of whole foods that have been proven to be one of the best sources of antioxidants in capsule form.
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