This article was co-produced by Dr. Bisma and Dr. Zahira Bano.
In these recent times, where almost everyone we know is getting hit by this deadly virus, we must keep ourselves safe. But staying home in quarantine is not a permanent solution. Apart from vaccination, we must suppress the reasons that are increasing this virus among individuals.
According to research, oxidative stress and inflammation are the major reasons for increasing the seriousness of different diseases by making the immune system weaker. Lower immunity makes the body more prone to chronic diseases associated with antioxidant system fragility. Therefore, researchers have supported the high consumption of antioxidants as a strategy to boost up immunity and fight against various diseases.
This article is going to be very helpful to provide you a list of foods that are high in antioxidants.
What are Antioxidants?
Antioxidants are nutrients that provide nutrition and improve certain immune responses. Antioxidants fight against free radicals that are produced due to smoking or radiation, causing heart diseases, cancer, other harmful diseases. They protect body cells against radical diseases and save you from such diseases.
Antioxidants include Selenium, Vitamin C, and Vitamin E, Carotenoids such as beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein, and zeaxanthin.
Super Healthy Foods Super High in Antioxidants:
The following foods are high in antioxidants and need to be consumed to keep the immune system strong and yourself safe:
Starting from the tiniest fruit that is packed with antioxidants, Blueberries. They may seem small, but don’t go their size, these are nutrition in the form of a tiny ball. Blueberries are high in anthocyanins which are rich in antioxidants. Blueberries are high in many nutrients other than just antioxidants such as; calories, protein, fat, carbohydrates, fiber, sugar, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, vitamin C, folate, vitamin A and vitamin K.
Blueberries are helpful for building strong bones, maintaining a healthy heart, preventing cancer, improving mental health, diabetes management, and making your skin flawless. Research says that eating a small portion of blueberries everyday regularly helps in strengthening metabolism and prevents metabolic syndrome and deficiency. It helps in getting rid of abdominal fat and increases signaling in brain centers improving memory.
Blackberries are the only berry with the highest amount of anthocyanins which is a rich antioxidant. This sweet and sour fruit is made up of nutrients that combine to give you a high voltage of immunity boost. Other than antioxidants, they include potassium, magnesium, calcium, Vitamins A, C, E, and B (in high quantity).
Note: The deep purple color of the blackberries is because of the antioxidant anthocyanins.
Blackberries have many benefits out of which we are; safe against inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, its antiviral properties, protection against the risk to f brain diseases such as epilepsy, and many others as well. You can eat blackberries in any form but research has proven that eating them fresh is the best way as cooking reduces the number of antioxidants.
Artichokes are vegetables with the highest amount of antioxidants than any other. However, it is never eaten as a main dish and is usually eaten as a side dish in small quantities. Artichokes are rich in silymarin which is a flavonoid antioxidant along with polyphenols and anthocyanins. They are low in fat and contain high amounts of Vitamin C, Vitamin K, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and iron.
Artichokes ha e several benefits including, high cholesterol, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), kidney problems, anemia, heartburns, bladder infections, and Alcohol side effects. Plus, they can prove to be anti-inflammatory by reducing bloating and promoting regularity.
This vegetable may not be the most favorite pick for everyone but you cannot deny the fact that it is loaded with antioxidants and nutrients. It has lutein and sulforaphane along with magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, sodium, protein, calcium, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and iron.
It has many benefits, some of which are; prevention of stomach and intestinal cancer, reduction of cholesterol, detoxification, improvement of eyesight, and digestion. Moreover, broccoli can prevent blood vessel lining damages caused by chronic blood sugar problems. It is also proven to be beneficial for patients with type 2 diabetes and autism. The best way to consume this vegetable in order to get the maximum nutrients is steaming as it keeps the antioxidants locked in.
#5 Green Tea:
Next is everyone’s favorite beverage, green tea! Green tea is a very common drink around the world and is liked by most caffeine lovers. It keeps you hydrated while providing several health benefits. This drink has antioxidants such as polyphenols and catechin called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (that’s one long antioxidant). It also has Folic acid, B-carotene, amino acid, minerals, vitamins A, B2, and C.
The antioxidants present in green tea are helpful against different cancer diseases such as; breast cancer, prostate cancer, and colorectal cancer. It saves from brain diseases as well such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Green tea has several other benefits as well such as reducing bad breaths, reducing sugar levels, preventing type 2 diabetes, improving cholesterol levels, and prevention of cardiovascular diseases.
You might have heard the term ‘super food’ at some point, it means good that is super rich in nutrients and provides an instant boost of energy. Kale is said to be a superfood with a high amount of antioxidants such as Vitamin C and Alpha-linolenic acid. Other than these, it has got calcium, a high amount of fiber, Vitamin K, and iron. Altogether, these nutrients make kale a superfood for many purposes.
Kale is a good option for diabetic patients as it contains nutrients recommended by the American Diabetes Association. It reduces the risk of high blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases as well, thanks to the potassium present in it. Food containing fiber cures constipation, so eat kale if you’re facing such a problem. Kale also helps prevent cancer, improves bone health and digestion. It is also proven to be good for skin, hair, and eye health. It is best to eat this vegetable raw or steamed rather than cooked.
#7 Dark Chocolate:
Most people are unaware of the fact that dark chocolate is a bundle of nutrients that boosts your energy levels and improves health. But this does not mean that less bitter dark chocolate is also healthy. Dark chocolate that is at least 70% dark and bitter or more is said to have health benefits.
The antioxidant called flavonoid plays a major part in the prevention of cancer among people who take dark chocolate regularly. Prevention of cardiovascular diseases and obesity are some of the pros of taking dark chocolate. The best dose to intake on daily basis is just 1 pounce as it will maintain the balance between the nutrients and calories/sugar. It can boost your mood as it has the ability to swipe down the stresses and bring you pleasure.
Another antioxidant-rich vegetable is beetroot. They are supplied with powerful antioxidants like betalain. Other than antioxidants, beets are loaded with minerals, vitamins, inorganic nitrates, and pigments. They also have a small number of calories and fats.
Beetroots prevent cancer because of their antioxidant properties. They are an ideal food to eat for losing weight as they have a moderate amount of proteins and fibers. Prevention of heart disease, liver disease, obesity, and improvement of brain health, digestive system, and skin health is also possible because of the nutrients on beetroot. Steamed or raw beetroot is best to get maximum nutrients or you can also drink fresh beetroot juice.
After blackberries and blueberries, raspberries come up with berries containing most types of antioxidants including Vitamin C, Vitamin E, selenium, beta-carotene, lutein, lycopene, zeaxanthin, anthocyanins, and flavonoids. Other nutrients include sodium, potassium, magnesium, protein, iron, and dietary fibers. A daily intake of a minimum of 3 cups of raspberries can provide you sufficient antioxidants and nutrients which will keep you immune against many diseases and viruses.
The nutrients contained in raspberries tend to increase your brain power and preventing memory loss. They reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, low blood pressure, and high blood pressure, cholesterol, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and stroke. The antioxidants reduce the risk of cancer as they attack and destroy the cancer cells. Although there are many ways to consume raspberries, the best one is to take them raw because you’ll get the most nutrients directly.
Start Taking a Healthy Diet Today!
Maintaining a balance between healthy eating and exercise is as important as focusing on your visual appearance and mental health. Therefore, it is necessary to keep eating healthy and consuming a diet that has more antioxidants as they are super nutrients keeping cancerous diseases and inflammation away.
However, consuming an unlimited amount of antioxidants can be harmful, so keeping a record of what you eat and the nutrients you take is essential in these Covid struck times.
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