Antioxidants are compounds that have the ability to slow or prevent the oxidation of other molecules. Antioxidants work against oxidation. They hunt down free radicals in order to prevent chain oxidation. They can either do this by getting oxidized themselves, or by removing the intermediary between the radicals and the human body.
MATCHA– Highest Antioxidants!
What are some of the benefits we can derive from eating foods that are rich sources of antioxidants?
Lycopene is found in tomatoes and tomato based products. It is thought to contribute to greater prostate health. Researchers believe that antioxidants can help reduce the risk of heart attack. Lycopene, for example, is an antioxidant found in tomatoes. It is thought that diets that are lacking in lycopene increase a person’s risk for stroke and heart attack.
Phytochemicals are plant based chemicals. They are important in plants because they help to protect the plants from disease. It is thought that they can help protect people from heart disease.
Onions, garlic and shallots are rich sources of organosulphurs. It is thought that these “sulphur” compounds can be helpful for lowering cholesterol.
Isoflavones are found in soy proteins. It is thought that they also offer heart protection. These isoflavones that are found specifically in soy products are thought to help lower blood sugars and LDL (the bad cholesterol) in post menopausal women who have Type 2 diabetes. They can also help menopausal women deal with some of the severe symptoms of menopause. Soy is also thought to lower the systolic blood pressure in men, another risk factor for heart attacks and strokes.
The best sources of isoflavones from soy are tofu, soy milk and other soy proteins.
Flavenoids are found in matcha, green and black tea, in red wine, red grape juice, dark chocolate, onions and apples. They have also
been found to protect against heart attack and stroke.
Beta Carotene is a carotenoid that is found in carrots and in other brightly colored fruits and vegetables. Beta carotene is useful for neutralizing those free radicals that cause cellular damage, and they boost he body’s defenses.
OTHER IMPORTANT ANTIOXIDANTS –
Lutein and Zexanthin are found in kale, collards, spinach, corn, eggs and citrus. They are thought to contribute to helping maintain good eye sight, and to help in the prevention of macular degeneration, a major cause of blindness.
OVERALL BENEFITS –
Fruits and vegetables are rich sources of antioxidants, and they are more important than we could ever have imagined in staving off things like heart disease, slowing the aging process and strengthening our immune systems. We need those antioxidants because they are basically our own personal disease fighting armies.
Antioxidants, whether vitamin, mineral or other, are essential to our health and for good nutrition. They make it possible for the body to absorb the essential nutrients that are so important in preventing cell damage, fighting disease and protecting us from diseases. This is just another indication that fruits and vegetables are such a vital part of a healthy diet.
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