Over the last few years, people have become increasingly interested in nutrition and what they can do for a healthier lifestyle.
If you look for information on this topic, you’ll find many articles that talk about antioxidants. In fact, you’ll hear about them so often that you’ll begin to associate them with well-being. And that’s a good thing because antioxidants really do take care of your health. Read below to find out everything about foods high in antioxidants and a list of their benefits.
What are antioxidants good for?
What these molecules do is similar to what Wonder Woman or Captain America do in movies - they fight against antiheroes, or otherwise known as free radicals.
Antioxidants are essential for your body if you want to live a long and healthy life. But what exactly are they?
Antioxidants are a complex of nutrients – vitamins, minerals, and enzymes – which lower the toxic effects of free radicals. Antioxidants prevent cell oxidation, which happens as a result of aging and which also occurs through the influence of external factors. Additionally, they strengthen the immune system, reduce the risk of cancer, and prevent infections.
The main antioxidants are: vitamins A, C, and E, selenium, zinc, coenzyme Q10, beta carotene, flavonoids, lycopene, Omega-3, and Omega-6.
Free radicals are compounds that, in high levels, can cause harm to your body. Side effects of free radicals include: premature aging, cell degradation, and the appearance of certain diseases.
Which foods are highest in antioxidants?
Now that we’ve talked about the extraordinary role antioxidants play in the body, let’s take a look at the foods with the highest antioxidant properties and the richest goodies containing these essential nutrients.
Elderberries are one of the top antioxidant foods. Once called by Hippocrates the “medicine chest”, the elder shrub has long been a source of food and nutrition. Its fruits, tiny black elderberries, are packed with flavonoids and abundant in vitamins A, B, C, calcium, magnesium, zinc, potassium, dietary fiber, iron, folate, and organic acids. Read below to see how elderberries should be consumed so you can benefit from all they have to offer.
Grapes are not only tasty but are also a substantial source of nutrients. They contain antioxidant phytonutrients, such as beta-carotene and resveratrol. When eating these fruits directly, chew their seeds as well to get the maximum antioxidant effect. There are multiple benefits of black grapes, from excelling in protecting the cardiovascular system to keeping cholesterol under control.
Tomatoes are a well-known food that is rich in antioxidants. Researchers have found significant links between lycopene (the primary antioxidant carotenoid pigment that gives tomatoes its color) and bone health. Besides lycopene, tomatoes are an excellent source of vitamin E, beta-carotene, manganese, vitamin C and minerals.
Cranberries contain large amounts of vitamins and are also rich in anthocyanin and quercetin, flavonoid antioxidants that help prevent serious diseases, fight infections, and improve memory. A cup of cranberries exceeds, on average, ten times the recommended daily dose of antioxidants, so consuming these types of berries periodically means a high dose of health for the body.
Walnuts are rich in good fats, both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated, and, when regularly consumed, can help lower bad cholesterol. High in antioxidants and vitamin E, walnuts prevent heart disease, fight infections, and protect the skin from the harmful effects of external factors.
What is the most powerful antioxidant?
While this is debatable, there are certain types of antioxidants that work together to support your body in your day to day activities.
One of the most powerful and important antioxidants our body produces is glutathione. It has strong anti-aging and detoxifying properties. To enhance its power, it is preferable to combine it with vitamin E. Sunflower seed and wheat germ oil are very rich in vitamin E. It is advised to buy organic and cold-pressed wheat germ oil and use it to season salads and vegetables that you eat.
Astaxanthin also has powerful antioxidant properties that controls oxidative stress. It also has a positive effect on the brain and nervous system.
Coenzyme Q10, on the other hand, plays a key role in regulating cellular energy metabolism and is a powerful antioxidant that inhibits lipid oxidation. Recent studies show that taking statins inhibits the synthesis of CoQ10. Therefore, it’s advisable to take a supplement containing it. Our body synthesises it through certain foods, such as meat, fish, oilseeds, and spinach.
And don’t underestimate the power of pycnogenol. It has a positive effect on the circulatory and cardiovascular system.
Lastly, lycopene, a red pigment, is mostly found in tomatoes. Lycopene isn’t synthesized by our body, so it should be taken with foods. Besides its antioxidant action, which is thought to have a positive effect on cellular aging, vascular diseases and tumours, it protects the skin from ultraviolet light.
What is the #1 superfood?
Black elderberries are undeniably the #1 antioxidant superfood. Low in calories and rich in antioxidants, black elderberries contain 73 calories, 18.4 grams of carbohydrates, and less than 1 gram of fatty acids and proteins.
With all these nutrients, it’s no wonder why black elderberries are the food with the highest antioxidant power in the world. However, consuming raw elderberries is potentially harmful for your body. To enjoy all the benefits of elderberries, it is best to consume them in liquid form (such as a syrup), after removing the poisonous parts.
Each bottle of Elderberry Syrup is made from organic black elderberries, naturally harvested in the wild. Taken daily, it boosts and strengthens your immune system, protects your body against free radicals, supports respiratory health, reduces inflammation, and restores the energy your body needs to function at its best.
What drink has the most antioxidants?
Green tea is one of the most popular antioxidant drinks. It is important to serve the tea in the purest form, without any added colors, artificial sweeteners, or other questionable ingredients. Green tea is loaded with antioxidants and can improve brain function, stimulate fat loss, and lower the risk of heart disease.
Other drinks that contain antioxidants are matcha, herbal tea, coffee, beet juice, pomegranate juice, açai juice, and coconut water.
When selecting a healthy antioxidant drink, make sure that the products do not contain added sugar, artificial flavors, and additives. Ingredients like cane juice, high fructose corn syrup, glucose, or fruit nectar generally indicate that a drink contains added sugars.
What is the best time to take antioxidants?
Antioxidants are best saved for the morning. It is not advisable to eat or take your dietary supplements at night. This is because digestion slows down during sleep and you won’t benefit from the same efficient absorption of nutrients.
Antioxidants and skin care
Antioxidants are also used extensively in over-the-counter skin care products and cosmetics. Known for having anti-aging and skin protecting qualities, they are used topically to improve many cosmetic skin issues. Many skincare products incorporate antioxidants into their formulations to deliver the benefits of antioxidants directly to the skin: protection against UV damage, calm inflammation, and slow premature aging. Vitamins A, B3, C, and E are some of the best antioxidants you can get for good looking skin.
Antioxidant fruits that can help with skin
Citrus and fruits such as passion fruit contain high levels of vitamin C and can help reduce the appearance of wrinkles and brighten the skin. Avocados contain vitamin E and can help with hyperpigmentation and uneven skin tone. Flavonoids are present in bright-colored berries such as strawberries. They help manage inflammation and prevent UV damage. Açai, blueberries, and other dark-colored berries contain anthocyanin and help prevent collagen loss. They also protect against skin damage caused by stress or pollution. Containing lycopene, tomatoes and other red fruits help reduce redness in skin caused by sun damage.
Can antioxidants be bad for you?
Let’s be honest. Too much of anything can cause harm - even water. While eating foods rich in antioxidants or supplementing with these nutrients generally do you a great deal of good, loading up on antioxidant supplements can stop your body from doing its job. In high concentrations, antioxidants may actually act as pro-oxidants, protecting dangerous cells and causing unwanted headaches and nausea. It is best to talk to your doctor when deciding on the antioxidant supplement intake you need.
From seeds to foods and beverages, there are plenty of ways to ramp up your intake of antioxidants. Keep in mind that enjoying a few servings of antioxidant goodies is just one piece of the puzzle. For the best results, you’ll need to add a well-rounded diet and an active lifestyle into the mix.