“Eat foods that nourish your body and soul. Treat your body with the respect and care it deserves.”
Improving Your Health Through Good Nutrition
Antioxidants are substances that help prevent certain types of cell damage, especially those caused by oxidation. When certain types of oxygen molecules are allowed to travel freely in the body, they cause what is known as oxidative damage, which is the formation of free radicals. Free radicals are very dangerous to the body’s tissues and have been connected to cancer and premature aging. The body uses antioxidants to prevent itself from the damage caused by oxygen.
Oxidative damage plays a major role in disease today and has been linked to health conditions like heart disease, cancer and dementia.
Some of the benefits of consuming antioxidant rich foods include:
- Slower aging
- Healthy glowing skin
- Reduced cancer risk
- Detoxification support
- Longer life span
Most fruits, vegetables and herbs contain antioxidants such as vitamin C, beta-carotene, flavonoids and lycopene. There is no recommended daily allowance (RDA) or Daily Value set for antioxidants.
The levels of antioxidants are evaluated by oxygen radical absorption capacity score (ORAC) and test the power of a plant to absorb and eliminate free radicals. These measurements were developed by the National Institute of Aging and are based on 100 grams of each food or herb.
Many berries and other flavorful foods have an extremely high ORAC score.
Top 10 high antioxidant foods list
1) Goji berries: 25,000 ORAC Score
2) Wild blueberries: 14,000 ORAC Score
3) Dark chocolate: 21,000 ORAC Score
4) Pecans: 17,000 ORAC Score
5) Artichoke: 9,400 ORAC Score
6) Elderberries: 14,000 ORAC Score
7) Kidney beans: 8,400 ORAC Score
8) Cranberries: 9,500 ORAC Score
9) Blackberries: 5,300 ORAC Score
10) Cilantro: 5,100 ORAC Score
Other antioxidant rich herbs include garlic, cayenne pepper and green tea. Try to consume two to three servings of these herbs daily.
Certain herbs and foods have been linked to the prevention of particular health related conditions.
Top health benefits of antioxidant foods
Antioxidants for eyes
The antioxidants vitamin C, vitamin E and beta carotene have been shown to have an effect on preventing macular degeneration, or age-related blindness. Lutein and zeaxanthin, which are found in spinach, may slow the progression of eye related degeneration. Flavonoid antioxidants – found in bilberries – and resveratrol – found in grape skins – are especially beneficial at supporting .
Antioxidant benefits for skin health
Free radicals formed by oxidative damage speed up the aging process, but antioxidants may help combat this damage. High intakes of vitamin C, beta carotene and other antioxidants have been connected to a decrease in the appearance of wrinkles and skin dryness.
Vitamin C, specifically, is a powerful antioxidant which can help reduce the effect of oxidative damage caused by pollution, stress or poor diet.
Stroke and heart disease
Since antioxidants help prevent against free radical damage, they may also protect against heart disease and stroke. At this point, the data does not show that all antioxidants are effective to protect against heart disease, but some, such as vitamin C may be. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition featured a study showing those with high levels of vitamin C in their blood have a 42 percent decreased risk of stroke.
Making foods rich in antioxidants a larger part of your diet can boost your overall health. Add some of these flavorful choices to your nutritious meals starting today.
This article originally appeared on DrAxe.com and is republished here with permission.