Free radicals are unstable molecules that steal electrons from other molecules thus causing damage to DNA and other cells. These free radicals can cause:
- Deterioration of the eye lens, which contributes to blindness
- Inflammation of the joints (arthritis)
- Acceleration of the aging process
- Certain cancers, triggered by damaged cell DNA.
- Increased risk of coronary heart disease, since free radicals encourage low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol to stick to artery walls
- Damage to nerve cells in the brain, which contributes to conditions such as Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s disease
With the help of antioxidants, our body can cope with some of the damages caused by free radicals and enables the system to function effectively.
Antioxidants are the ones that neutralize the damage caused by free radicals. They include nutrient antioxidants, vitamins A, C and E, and the minerals copper, selenium, and zinc.
Plant Foods That Are Rich Sources Of Antioxidants
In addition to its high amounts of fats and minerals, pecans are good sources of antioxidants with up to 10.6 mmol per 3.5 ounces (100 grams). Moreover, the consumption of pecans can also help increases antioxidant levels in the blood.
This popular berry can provide our body with providing up to 5.4 mmol of antioxidants per 3.5 ounces (100 grams). Aside from this, it is also rich in vitamin C.
A type of antioxidant known as anthocyanins is present in strawberries in high amounts.
A 2016 review showed that taking anthocyanin supplements reduced the levels of LDL cholesterol in participants with high cholesterol. This leads to a lowered risk of heart diseases.
Blueberries have up to 9.2 mmol of antioxidants per 3.5 ounces (100 grams), according to FRAP analysis.
Studies revealed that the antioxidants in blueberries can help fight the harmful effects of radicals, lower down inflammation, change the expression of certain genes, and reduce the risk of heart diseases.
Spinach is an excellent addition to salads and entrees. This green leafy veggie contains zeaxanthin and lutein, two antioxidants that can help promote eye health and help prevent damage from ultraviolet (UV) rays and other harmful light waves.
Purple Or Red Grapes
Present in purple and red grape varieties are high amounts of antioxidants anthocyanin and proanthocyanin. These two are able to protect a person from cancer or heart diseases.
Beets contain betalains, an antioxidant that can help us lower our risk of colon cancer and digestive issues. Results of a review revealed that betalains can help reduce free radicals and help prevent cancer.
Beans, such as pinto beans, are high in antioxidants. They contain a plant flavonoid called kaempferol which may help suppress cancer cell growth and reduce inflammation. Studies have found that it can help fight specific cancers such as lung, breast, kidney and bladder cancer.