Choosing an organic diet means carefully and consciously selecting your food.
Sounds tedious? It doesn’t have to be. It can be easy, fun and healthy especially if you know which food substances to look for.
Take antioxidants, for example. Foods rich in antioxidants like grapes, plums, and strawberries may already be in your pantry and you don’t even have to cook them.
Eat some of these foods raw and enjoy the multiple health benefits of antioxidants for your mind and body.
Why Are Antioxidants Good For You?
Antioxidants are molecules that help prevent the oxidation of certain chemicals in your body. They reduce the amount of free radicals which are responsible for cell damage. When cells are damaged, they can cause premature aging.
Consuming foods and supplements with high antioxidant content can help you maintain a youthful look and an energetic body.
What Are the Benefits Of Antioxidants?
The health benefits of antioxidants are readily apparent in the aspects of fitness and lifestyle. They also support crucial bodily functions and lower the risks of disease.
Antioxidants Reduce the Risk of Cardiovascular Diseases
As mentioned earlier, antioxidants help reduce the existence of free radicals. They also prevent the oxidation of fats which in turn lessens the risk of harming blood vessels.
The family of antioxidants includes carotenoids found in foods with yellow, orange or red colors such as oranges, peppers, peaches, mangoes, papayas, etc. which decrease LDL (bad cholesterol) in the blood. Eating foods rich in carotenoids limits the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Antioxidants Prevent Certain Types of Cancers
What you eat manifests in your appearance and in how your body functions. Choosing fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants can significantly improve your health and even prevent cancer.
If antioxidant nutrients are consumed in sufficient quantities, they can reduce the risk of cancer by more than 30%.
According to the Antioxidants and Cancer Prevention article published by www.cancer.gov “Antioxidants are also known as “free radical scavengers.” This means that antioxidants “look” for free radicals in your body and neutralize them so they cannot harm your health.
Your body produces antioxidants on its own but it also relies on antioxidants from the food you eat.
Antioxidants Protect the Eyes
Generally, all antioxidant molecules protect your eyes and your vision. Carotenoids, specifically lutein and zeaxanthin are the main protectors.
According to a recent study, the consumption of foods rich in zeaxanthin (found in corn and cauliflower) reduces the risk of AMD (age-related macular degeneration) by 93% and the occurrence of cataract by 47%.
Lutein found in egg yolks, carrots, oranges, and spinach also reduces the risk of AMD by up to 69%.
Antioxidants Prevent Respiratory Problems
The air we breathe is often polluted with powerful oxidants such as nitrogen dioxide and ozone which can lead to respiratory problems. Such effects of pollution can be mitigated through the presence of antioxidant nutrients (especially vitamin E and beta-carotene) in your body, greatly reducing the oxidation of these harmful molecules.
Antioxidants Delay Aging
Free radicals are harmful to the skin and can cause premature aging. When there are too many in the body, free radicals attack cell membranes. As a result, the skin deteriorates, breaks, and gets wrinkles prematurely.
Antioxidants, in particular those contained in green leafy vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, spinach) or in dark fruits (plums, raspberries, gooseberries, etc.), help prevent this from happening.
Where Can You Find Antioxidants?
Most of us want to retain our youthfulness, health, and energy. By including antioxidants in our daily diet, we do just that. Here is a list of some antioxidants, their benefits, and the foods that provide them.
Anthocyanins – This antioxidant is found in a number of red, purple, and blue colored berries and vegetables. This includes blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, red onions, red beans, red beets, and red cabbage. It is useful for prevention of heart disease, memory loss and neurological diseases.
Lycopene – This antioxidant which is wonderful for heart health can be found mainly in tomatoes, papaya, watermelons, apricots and other sweet fruits.
Add fresh tomatoes or organic tomato sauce in your dishes to get a healthy dose of lycopene into your body.
Vitamin A – Found in egg yolks, sweet potatoes and carrots, this antioxidant helps in making your eyesight clear and sharp, and boosts the capacity of your immune system. You can eat carrots raw as a snack or bake sweet potatoes for dinner.
Lutein – You can consume kale, spinach and other leafy greens to get your daily dose of lutein. This particular antioxidant is responsible for good eyesight – prevents cataracts and retinitis pigmentosa. Lutein also promotes hydration and elasticity of the skin.
Vitamin E – Eat almonds and use corn and soybean oil for your meal preparations to let a sufficient amount of Vitamin E in your system. You can load up on different types of nuts like peanuts and hazelnuts to spice up your food and keep yourself healthy.
Selenium – This antioxidant component helps repair DNA damage and provides protection of cells from free radicals. Wheat and organic rice are good sources of selenium. The most common sources in the United States are bread and meat.
How Can You Measure the Concentration Of Antioxidants In Food?
The recommended daily intake of antioxidants is between 3,000 and 5,000 ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) units. To give you an idea, here is a summary of the ORAC in the richest fruits:
Cranberries = 9584
Blueberries = 2400
Mature = 2036
Prunes = 1800
Strawberries = 1540
Raspberries = 1220
How Much And Which Antioxidant-rich Foods Are Right For You?
Antioxidants can be consumed in the form of fruits and veggies, supplements, and teas. Your requirement for antioxidants may be different from another person so it’s best to ask your doctor about the healthy dose suited for you.
Pregnant women have a lot to consider before consuming plenty of antioxidant-rich foods. If you are pregnant, coordinate with your gynecologist regarding this crucial matter.
Without a doubt, the health benefits of antioxidants are good to experience in order to enhance our health and improve our lives.
Jump start your goal of incorporating antioxidants in your organic diet by discovering more about some of their sweet sources: blueberries, strawberries, grapes, and apples. Share with us your favorite source in the comments.