You must have seen us use the word "anti-oxidants" in many of our blogs and if you keep wondering what are these anti-oxidants, what they do and how are they even important for us, then this blog is just for you. Let's talk about anti-oxidants in detail and all the foods and ingredients rich in these substances.
1. What are Anti-oxidants?
Anti-oxidants are man-made or naturally occurring substances that prevent or reduce the damage caused by cells. As we consume food and the body processes it, the cells in our body produce waste called "free radicals". If this waste is not effectively removed from the body, it can result in oxidative stress. There are some external factors too, like inflammation, UV rays exposure, pollution and smoking cigarette that can increase the growth of free radicals.
Increased oxidative stress can cause heart diseases, increase chances of cancer, arthritis, respiratory diseases and immune deficiency. This is where anti-oxidants come into action by keeping a check and neutralizing the action of free radicals. They are found in abundance in many fruits, vegetables, spices and drinks. Some of the common types of anti-oxidants are- Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Beta-carotene, Lutein, Lycopene, Vitamin E and Selenium. So, when trying to consume foods rich in anti-oxidants, try looking for foods that contain one or more of the above listed compounds.
2. Foods rich in anti-oxidants
When it comes to food, always remember BALANCE IS THE KEY, have everything in correct balance. Do not go overboard and start consuming the same fruit or vegetable just because it is good for you. Make sure you eat small quantities of everything good, fresh and healthy. Here's a list of foods rich in anti-oxidants-
Vitamin A: Dairy products especially cheeses like cream cheese, feta, cheddar, goat cheese, limburger cheese; butter, salmon, liver (lamb liver, liver sausage, beef liver); eggs, cooked vegetables like spinach, kale, sweet potato, carrot and fruits like mango, watermelon, papaya, guava.
Vitamin C: Citrus fruits like oranges; strawberries; blackcurrants; chilli peppers; guava; kiwi; herbs like parsley; vegetables including spinach, broccoli are really good source of Vitamin C.
Selenium: Fish, ham, pastas, whole wheat breads, pork, beef, chicken, eggs, sunflower seeds, spinach, milk, oatmeal, bananas, brown rice and yogurt are considered to be good sources of Selenium. Shop for 100% natural sunflower seeds here.
Lutein: Lutein is found in most fruits and vegetables, but green and yellow ones have the highest amounts of this anti-oxidant. Kale, spinach, lettuce, yellow peppers, corn, eggs and pistachios