‘To be or not to be’ is, according to Shakespeare, the central dilemma of human life. In today’s scenario, this dilemma manifests itself in the question ‘What to eat and what not to eat’. The benefits of having a diet rich in anti-oxidants has surely not escaped our notice. They help to clean our immune system, helps our body to kill bacteria that damage our healthy cells and DNA and also aids in anti-ageing. The best way to consume anti-oxidants is to include them in our daily diet. Each fruit and vegetables have their own supplements of anti-oxidants. There can be no one substitute for all kinds of anti-oxidants so, if you are planning to pick a sort of a pill to provide you with all these benefits in single shot, I am sorry, it doesn’t work. The best way is to pick up and eat all the seasonal fruits and vegetables according to a schedule suiting your needs and capacity. Here I have outlined for you the top 10 foods rich in anti-oxidants :
An anti-oxidant power blast, this red and juicy fruit-cum-vegetable combo is really a great way to prevent anti-ageing!! When in the peak of their season, they have the best flavour and are least expensive. Several magazines have ranked our household tomato as the world’s healthiest food. Tomatoes are the best source of lycopene – a very powerful antioxidants that helps to protect the cellular structure and the DNA. Surprisingly, research has proved that tomatoes grown conventionally and those grown organically do not have a huge difference as far as their health benefits are concerned. The following four varieties of tomatoes were found to have a repertoire of antioxidants regardless of whether they are grown conventionally or organically, they are : ‘New Girl’, ‘Jet Star’, ‘Fantastic’ and ‘First Lady’. Of course we are not recommending these varieties to you ‘specifically’ but, in case you are lucky enough to come across them, you now know which one’s to buy.
This green or violet colored eating substance can detoxify our system, is rich in Vitamin D, contains flavanoids, has special cholesterol lowering benefits…do you still need more reasons to start eating it!! Glucoraphanin, gluconasturtiian and glucobrassicin are 3 glucosinolate phytonutrients found in a special combination in broccoli. These substances combined together aids in the detoxification of the bodily system. If cooked by steaming rather than boiling, broccoli has a special cholestrol lowering benefits. Broccoli is rich in a ‘particular’ flavonoid called kaempferol presence of which imparts unique anti-inflammatory benefits to it. As research has it, broccoli has the potential to cure cancer and several other ‘chronic inflammations’.
Who doesn’t love to eat this velvety fruit with a hard core? Now you have an even better reason to stick to you plate of these adorable and tasty little antioxidant bombs. Rich in iron, potassium, calcium, niacin, phosphorous, thiamin B1 , riboflavin B2 and large amounts of vitamin C and A peaches are a really good option to stay healthy. Peaches contain the two very powerful anti-oxidants namely ascorbic acid and phenolic compounds. It is also believed that peaches can be largely helpful for tumour growth inhibition activity.
Plums are our new super-food and full of disease fighting anti-oxidants, says our experts. Plums have been hailed as highly beneficial in fighting against obesity and several other disease causing micro-organisms.Plums are low in calories and fat- free. The important thing is not to peel of the skin of your plum but to eat it as a whole because it is in its skin that most of the colour-agents and anti-oxidants are present. Plums are rich in phytonutrients and the anti-oxidants strength measured in plums in ORAC (Oxygen radical absorbance capacity) is 6295 umol TE/100. The anti-oxidants present in a given food is generally specific to it so, people should try and eat a rainbow of coloured fruits including these red and violet plums.
Aren’t you excited and happy that our corn is also in this list of super-foods!! Who wouldn’t love to have sweet corns or baby corns as their pizza toppings? If you are watching a movie, it becomes the all the more entertaining for you to carry a bowl of sweet corn along…doesn’t it?Eating sweet corn boosts the body’s ability to fight cancer and heart diseases. Yellow corns contains the anti-oxidants carotenoids along with the nutrition of lutein and zeaxanthin. Apart from this, corns are rich in fiber and the ability of corn fiber to nourish our lower digestive track has been proved again and again by several researches. They provide immense chewing satisfaction apart from controlling diabetes, prevention of heart ailments, lowering hypertention and prevention of neural-tube defects at birth.
Many of us may have avoided these super-nuts because they are high in calories and fats but experts have reported that the unsaturated fat present in walnuts is not as harmful as the saturated fat present in oil and dairy products. So, this is another reason to start consuming these nuts all over again. When added to our daily salad of spinach, broccoli and tomato etc., they can even aid in weight loss. A research states that ‘ A handful of walnuts contains twice as much antioxidants as an equivalent amount of any other commonly consumed nuts’. It takes only seven walnuts a day to fulfill our body’s daily requirement of anti-oxidants!!
Bright and vivacious spinach leaves are not only charming for the eyes to look at but are nourishing for the body as well. Spinach is one of the richest source of anti-oxidants. A cup of spinach has over 3,600 IU of Beta-Carotene. Beta -carotene is one of the carotenoids that are well known for their anti-cancer and anti-ageing properties. Spinach is also great for increasing bone health and contains nutrients for heart health. Great for gastrointestinal health and asthma, arthiritis and ostreoporosis, this is a must -eat food for everyone out there.
Raspberries, blueberries, strawberries and blackberries are the highest source of antioxidants among fruits with Apple running at a close second. Though they might get a bit costly now and then, it is always expedient to eat such fruits at their peak season when they are cheap and fresh. Scientists have even gone to the extent of saying that a cup of blueberry juice contains the sufficient amount of anti-oxidants required for a day which also includes vitamins A&C plus falvonoids such as querticin and anthocyanidin. All this in just one cup!! Amazing..
2. Green Tea
Yes, here it is, our beloved energy imparting partner. Abundantly rich in anti-oxidants and flavanoids, green tea acts as cleanser for our internal body mechanisms.As has been estimated, a cup of green or black tea has ten times the anti-oxidants present in any fruit or vegetables. Yes my dear caffeine lovers, tea is gaining ground over coffee. Rich in polyphenols, green tea contains various bio-active compound that can improve health. It is also claimed that green tea can help one to reduce weight and the compounds present in it can improve brain functioning and make you more smarter.
What other than prunes to top our list of anti-oxidants?? Dried plums or prunes rank # 1 in anti-oxidant activity. The additional benefits of fiber, other vitamins and great taste make dried plums the smart snack for a healthy lifestyle. Much of the anti-oxidant power of prunes can be attributed to the high levels of hydroxycinnamic acids they contain. The hydroxycinnamic acids in prunes include neochlorogenic and cholorogenic acids both of which appear to be highly effective at scavenging free radicals. Do you still need more reasons to start eating them?