Have you been seeing foods that are termed as rich in antioxidants and wondered what are antioxidants and why are they so important?
Well, antioxidants are natural chemicals. They can help prevent or obstruct damage to cells caused by free radicals. These unstable molecules are produced by the body as a reaction to the environment and other pressures. There are two types of antioxidants, the source of that can be natural or artificial. The natural sources of antioxidants are plant-based foods which are also a good source of nutrients. Plant-based antioxidants that are polyphenols are extremely beneficial for our health. It can help neutralize harmful free radical molecules that would cause damage to cells in the body and risk the development of cancer, diabetes, and heart diseases. The number of polyphenols in plant-based sources depends on the origin, freshness, and storage of the food.
Antioxidant-rich food is growing popular but it is more than just a ‘fad’. People have become self-aware and try to follow a healthy diet. They look out for foods that are rich in nutrients and are important for staying healthy. A great source of natural antioxidants in foods is vitamin C and E.
Now, you might be wondering why we would want to introduce such complex natural compounds into our bodies.
Well, we have compiled 5 reasons that make antioxidants important:
Antioxidants help lower blood sugar levels:
Antioxidants may benefit your body as they may prevent the breakdown of carbs into simple sugars, lowering the likelihood of blood sugar spikes after your meals. These substances can also help generate the release of insulin, a hormone that’s required to transport sugar from your blood into your cells and keep blood sugar levels stable. Some studies also show that plant-based antioxidant-rich diets lower fasting blood sugar levels, improve glucose tolerance and increase insulin, all of which are important factors in lowering your risk of type 2 diabetes.
Lowers the risk of heart disease:
Adding antioxidants may drastically improve your heart health. Specialists believe that the antioxidant properties of plant-based foods help reduce chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation poses a threat to heart functioning and exposes it to the risk of diseases. Two recent studies link polyphenol supplements (plant-based antioxidant supplements) to decreasing pressure and bad cholesterol levels and higher good cholesterol in the body.
Protection against cancer:
Research often links plant-based food in diets with lower risks of cancer, this may be because of the natural antioxidant-rich foods. Plant-based foods high in antioxidants have anti-inflammatory effects, which are beneficial to cancer prevention. A recent study of the show indicated that antioxidants may be able to block and stop the growth of cancer cells in the body. Some studies link high levels of antioxidants in blood to a lower risk of the breast as well as prostate cancer.
Antioxidants greatly benefit digestion as it promotes the growth of good gut bacterias while blocking off harmful bacterias. For example, antioxidant-rich teas can help cure digestive problems caused due to bacteria. Also, plant-based antioxidants promote the production of probiotics in the body.
Promote brain function:
Antioxidant-rich foods may increase your focus and memory. A study suggests that consuming grape juice, a natural source of antioxidant- polyphenols, helps significantly boost memory in senior adults who suffer a minor mental impairment. Antioxidants (cocoa flavanols) also improve the blood flow to the brain.
Now that we know what the importance of antioxidants in food is, here are a few foods that may help increase antioxidant consumption.
Rice is a great source of calcium & iron as well as antioxidants required for the body. Short grain rice is low in scratch content and has lower calories along with essential nutrients and antioxidants. Rice also consists of dietary fibers and nutrients essential for a healthy meal. It also promotes good and healthy digestion because of the fiber content.
Raisins: Rich in copper, potassium, and vitamins, raisins are prepared in a controlled environment to ensure that essential nutrients are not lost during the drying process. They work well with salads, milk desserts, and oatmeal bowls. Their fiber helps to improve digestion and also keeps you feeling full for longer. Raisins are also a great source of antioxidants as they are rich in polyphenols and catechins that help reduce the risk of diseases. Raisins are also rich in vitamin C which is great for maintaining smooth skin and boosting immunity.
Honey: as it contains bee pollen and propolis has high nutritional benefits. The texture and flavor of raw honey can vary from batch to batch and season to season. Details like transportation, storage, and environmental temperatures play a major role in deriving the best health benefits. Honey serves as a source of natural antioxidants, which play an important role in your body's immunity. They also prevent damage caused by oxidizing agents, and in turn reduce the risk of heart diseases, cancer, and cataracts. Himalayan natives' raw honey helps in weight loss, boosts immunity, promotes healthy digestion, and relieves cough and sore throat. Check out all benefits of having honey on our Instagram page!
Pumpkin Seeds: Pumpkin seeds are rich in antioxidants as they are a great source of vitamin E. Antioxidants reduce inflammation and protect cells from harmful free radicals. Thus preventing the body from the risk of contracting diseases. Pumpkin seeds also contain other nutrients and minerals like magnesium, healthy fats, and zinc. These seeds promote a healthy heart and protect against certain cancers. Pumpkin seeds are also high in fiber which helps digestion and controls appetite as it gives the feeling of a full stomach. Pumpkin seeds are highly recommended for people who have diabetes. The high magnesium content can help lower blood sugar.
Read all about pumpkin seeds and their true potential in our blog Benefits Of Pumpkin Seeds: Its True Potential!
Antioxidants can help the body achieve a strong immune system and maintain proper health. For those suffering from diseases or other pre-existing conditions, antioxidants may help ease or improve their conditions. By implementing antioxidant-rich foods in our diet we can ensure healthy blood flow, healthy digestion, healthy heart and kidneys, and protection from diseases and bad bacteria. Antioxidants help assure us of a happy present and healthy future.