Why Antioxidants in Superfoods Are Essential to Your Diet
Here's a good basic explanation, a sort of "Science of Antioxidants 101." To boil it down to even simpler terms, atoms, which hook up to form molecules, contain neutrons, protons and electrons. If an electron is lost, it forms a free radical, which can damage a molecule and that damaged molecule can, in turn, damage others, triggering a disease reaction. Electrons are being lost all the time during metabolism, which could cause a lot of harm to our bodies—except that antioxidants step in and replace some of those electrons. So we really need to be getting some antioxidants in our diet.
Photo credit: Shutterstock
We also need some free radicals in our body but an excess of them throws things out of balance. The list of things that can cause this imbalance probably won't surprise you. At the top of the list are environmental pollutants such as cigarette smoke, air pollution and pesticides. Alcohol is another trigger, along with infections, high blood sugar levels, too much sun exposure and even too much exercise. We can also throw the balance off by over-consuming certain vitamins and polyunsaturated fatty acids. The result can be heart disease, cancer and other chronic diseases, and a deterioration in overall health.
Naturally then, you're going to want to consume things that are rich in antioxidants like flavanoids, vitamin C and vitamin E. That's going to be primarily plant-based foods, along with green tea, coffee and—you'll be happy to hear—dark chocolate.
What are some of the plant foods you should include in your diet? Berries are a big winner. All kinds of berries are a great source of antioxidants including blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries and cranberries. Beans, especially pinto beans and red beans, are also rich in antioxidants. Apples, plums, grapes, cherries, potatoes, green vegetables, whole grains and pecans also rank high on the list.
But don't rely on a single favorite food. Different antioxidants work in different ways and we need a variety of them. That's why nature-created complex compounds found in good-for-you foods are always going to be a better choice than supplements.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
France moved one step closer this weekend to banning short-haul flights in an attempt to fight the climate crisis.
- Could a Tax on International Travel Fund a Country's Response to ... ›
- Most People in the UK Back Limits on Flying to Tackle Climate Crisis ... ›
- To Fly or Not to Fly? The Environmental Cost of Air Travel - EcoWatch ›
Four gray whales have washed up dead near San Francisco within nine days, and at least one cause of death has been attributed to a ship strike.
- Drones Capture Stunning Footage of Humpback and Gray Whales ... ›
- Ninth Gray Whale in Two Months Washes Up Dead in Bay Area ... ›
- As Extreme Weather Events Increase, What Are the Risks to Wildlife? ›
- 'Existential Threat to Our Survival': See the 19 Australian ... ›
- Cyclone Harold Batters Fiji, Tonga Could Be Next - EcoWatch ›
- 2 Killed, Thousands Evacuated as Cyclone Yesa Slams Fiji ... ›
By Rishika Pardikar
Search operations are still underway to find those declared missing following the Uttarakhand disaster on 7 February 2021.
Biden Refuses to Shut Down Dakota Access Pipeline, Despite Campaign Pledges on Tribal Relations and Climate
By Jessica Corbett
Indigenous leaders and climate campaigners on Friday blasted President Joe Biden's refusal to shut down the Dakota Access Pipeline during a court-ordered environmental review, which critics framed as a betrayal of his campaign promises to improve tribal relations and transition the country to clean energy.
- After Court Rules Dakota Access Pipeline Operating Illegally, Dems ... ›
- Environmentalists Applaud Biden Selections of Granholm, McCarthy ... ›
- Biden Urged to 'Honor Indigenous Sovereignty and Immediately Halt ... ›