-

Sources of Antioxidants- Types, Diseases, Fruits, Vegetables

Antioxidant foodAntioxidants, as any person would commonly understand is anything that is “anti” which means against and “oxidants” which means the molecule of oxygen. So an antioxidant is a molecule that beats the oxidation of other molecules. Now, the question to ponder upon is why is that Oxidation of molecule is so essential to be barred? In order to understand the answer, we need to know that when a molecule is oxidized, atoms of oxygen enter those molecules. This oxidation is not close to being the supply of regular oxygen that we breathe in. It is a chemical reaction that produces a chain of free radicals/ molecules in our body. These radicals are charged. They are alien to the system of our body. And thus, anything that’s alien to our body acts like a villain. It makes attempt to over power and damage our cells.

Naturally, as we can all understand, any kind of action lodged on our cells will lead to damaging of our cells which as a larger result, cause further damage to our bodily system. When we draw an analogy of such reactions, we come to the conclusion that these free radicals can cause cancer and other such kinds of illnesses in our body.

As we’ve briefly understood the concept of anti-oxidants, we next move on to the diseases that are beaten or avoided when food items consisting of anti-oxidants are consumed. The anti-oxidants freely react with oxidized radicals and neutralize them or terminate their change and thus inhibit a further development of radicals.

Diseases related to Antioxidants

  1. Atherosclerosis: It is a disease of the arteries characterized by the deposition of fatty material on their inner walls. Arteries are the ducts/nerves carrying pure oxygenated blood from the heart to different parts of the bodies. Thus, considering the importance of this part of our system, we can infer that narrowing of arteries can be detrimental to the health of the heart.
  2. Alzheimer’s Disease: Alzheimer’s is a neurological disorder which generally affects people at an old age. The person suffering this disease has a casual deterioration of mental health which starts with minor forgetfulness of names and faces and eventually, the affected person begins to forget people of his family and friends.
  3. Cancer: There are different types of cancer categorized based on the area/part of the body affected. Cancer is basically the presence of cancerous cells which grow and develop of the part of the body which is affected. This part then slowly deteriorates in health as all its healthy cells are killed by the cancerous cells.
  4. Diabetes: Diabetes is a commonly found autoimmune disease amongst people. It occurs because of the inability of the body to stabilize the insulin hormone in our body.
  5. Rheumatoid Artheritis: RA alias ‘Rheumatoid arthritis’ is an attacker of joints. It causes joint inflammation throughout the body, especially targeting hands, fingers and elbow in most cases. In some, it also inflames the hip and knee joint. Although the disease can affect anyone, most of the victims are women.
  6. Ocular Disease: Ocular diseases are of various types. They are majorly diseases related to your eyes and eyesight. One of them is Common Ocular disease, which is basically the presence of Pinkeye(conjunctivitis), which is an inflammation or infection of the transparent membrane that lines your eyelid and covers the white part of your eyeball.
  7. Motor Neuron Disease: Motor neuron diseases are a group of conditions that cause the nerves in the spine and brain to progressively lose function. They are a rare but serious and incurable form of progressive neuro degeneration. It is commonly found prevalent amongst people of middle age.

Formation of Free Radicals in our body is a cause of various other common nutritional deficiencies as well. Or we may call it a cycle. Nutritional deficiencies, especially those which are enriched with antioxidant properties, are a cause of formation of free radicals in our body.

TYPES OF ANTIOXIDANTS:

  • Alpha Lipoic Acid: It is a fatty acid synthesized in the body itself. Its key role is to enhance metabolism and energy production in our body.
  • Astaxanthin: It is a part of carotenoid family of antioxidants. It lowers the risk of heart disease and helps in anti-aging process.
  • Lutein: It is found in green leafy vegetable and eggs. It mainly protects the eyes and vision strength of our eyes.
  • Pycnogenol: It provides great support during menopause. It is also known as pine bark extract. It relieves menopausal symptoms of stress and depression amongst women. It leads to a healthy circulation of blood in our body.
  • Resveratrol: It is the component present in blue berries, strawberries, black berries which gives antioxidant properties to these fruits. It is also found in red wine. However, a limited consumption of the alcohol is recommended.

Now that we are aware of the various types of antioxidants, we come to those food items, the consumption of which will provide you with antioxidants to keep these diseases, illnesses at bay. Though, there are a lot of antioxidant supplements available in the market these days, the focus should be on the natural sources.

Fruits Which Contain Antioxidants:-

  • Prunes: Black Prunes are excellent source antioxidants with about 4873 of those magical molecules within. These molecules can help prevent a wide variety of maladies. Prunes also have a great effect in strengthening bone health.
  • Raisins: These have around 2500 total antioxidants per serving. Red grapes also form a range of around 2030 antioxidants in each serving.
  • Blueberries: Blueberries are heavily loaded antioxidants. Eating around one cup of antioxidants will provide over 13,000 antioxidants which is nearly about 10 folds more than any other fruit or vegetable. This makes Blueberries one of the healthiest fruit you can consume. However, an excessive consumption of this fruit can lead to gastrointestinal problems.
  • Strawberries: Like blue berries, blackberries, these red coloured, juicy and mouthwatering berries also provide a good amount of antioxidants.
  • Raspberries: How could we leave raspberries behind in the league? They too are an amazing source of antioxidants just like its counterparts.
  • Plums: Plums, commonly found during the onset of monsoons, have a good amount of antioxidants, as much as, 4800-4900 molecules per serving. Just to mention here, dried plums are actually prunes which we saw are a great source of antioxidants.
  • Oranges: The presence of vitamin C is the main ingredient which is responsible for antioxidants in this fruit. All fruits which contain Vitamin C are a great source of antioxidants to our body.
  • Cherries: Cherries contain vitamin C and thus antioxidants are provided by this fruit. Cherries are also very effective to our skin. They prevent early aging by being a wrinkle preventer.
  • Dragon FruitThis fruit has the presence of some amazing antioxidants like carotene with anti-carcinogenic qualities which prevents the development of tumor in a body.

Vegetables Which Contain Antioxidants:-

  • SpinachSpinach is packed with carotenoids- they are antioxidants which promote healthy eyes and macular degeneration, which is the leading cause of blindness in older people. Since we already saw how antioxidants are a great substance for the health of the eye, spinach also proves to cause wonders at this job.
  • Brussels Sprouts: They are akin to the family of broccoli. They detoxify cancer causing agents in the body before these agents can cause any harm to the body.
  • Alfalfa Sprouts: They are beta-carotene which are a kind of antioxidants that protects against lung cancers. They also improve the quality and growth of hair, skin, nails, gums and various glands. This can be attributed to presence of ample amount of Vitamin E. The contribution of Alfalfa to the bone health is also considerably phenomenal.
  • Broccoli: Broccoli is an excellent source of various nutrients along with being a cancer-fighting agent in our body. This is due to presence of antioxidants in good amounts. When consumed vegetables like broccoli on a regular basis, they have lead to avoiding bladder cancers as per the studies conducted over the years.
  • Beets: Beets consist of vitamins, calcium, iron, potassium and proteins.
  • Red Bell Peppers: There is a reason red bell peppers are considered to be effective against cancerous radicals. They are also rich in vitamin C. they have also done wonders in warding off atherosclerosis and heart related diseases.
  • Onions: Eating raw over cooked onions provides more benefits against cancer causing molecules. Cooking could reduce the nutritional content and the phytochemicals which fight prostate cancer.
  • Corn:– Golden in colour and sweet to taste, cooked corn provide optimal levels of antioxidants like lutein which is a combating factor against blindness in older age group.
  • Egg Plant: all types and shapes of egg plants provide chlorogenic acid which prevents formation of plaque in the walls or artery. It helps in lowering the levels of cholesterol and led to a relaxation of artery walls thus cutting the risk of high blood pressure.
  • Olive Oil: If we are to forget to mention olives in this section, it would be an incomplete source of information to you. Olives and olive oils are an excellent source of antioxidants which provide various health benefits to our bodies. They improve heart health, fight cholesterol levels, inhibit cancer and provide various nutrients to our bodies.

Thus, as we read, antioxidants are very important to preserve the health of our bodies and not only preserve but also enhance the immunity. Antioxidants are used for various skin benefits as well. Especially the fact that they fight against harmful UV rays is responsible in its inclusion in various skin creams and sunscreen lotions. Make sure you use the information to incorporate more fruits and vegetables consisting antioxidants.

Shabnam Vandeliwala

Venturing into writing is my second most admired hobby after litigating in courts. An advocate by profession, writing gives me immense sense of satisfaction especially in the time that I'm free from other work.