Antioxidants are different substances (vitamins, minerals, natural pigments, plant compounds and enzymes) that block the harmful effects of free radicals, i.e., unstable and highly reactive molecules derived from everyday processes of the body as the metabolism of foods, breathing or physical exercise. Similarly, we also expose ourselves daily to external factors that can cause the development of free radicals in our body, such as industrial pollution, electromagnetic radiation, snuff, ozone, sunlight, drugs and chemical additives found in processed foods, among the highlights.
Hundreds of antioxidants have been identified in the food we usually eat, including vitamins C and E, selenium, and carotenoids like beta carotene and lycopene. Also, there are phytochemicals, like tea and wine polyphenols, which have excellent antioxidant properties.
One of the food with higher antioxidant properties is the extra virgin olive oil, exceptional not only for its vitamin E and the ability to lower bad cholesterol levels, but also because it increases the level of other antioxidants in the blood.
Over the years, unless we have the neutralizing action of antioxidants, the damage that free radicals can make on our cells may be irreversible. Over 2,000 epidemiological studies show that most protective effects against cardiovascular, degenerative diseases and a wide variety of cancers are directly related to an adequate and balanced intake of fruits and vegetables.
Do you want to know which are the fruits and vegetables with higher antioxidant power?
Here are the TOP 10 you must include in your diet.
Sorted from lower to higher antioxidant capacity.FRUITS: (-) Kiwi Cherries Grapes Oranges Plums Raspberries Strawberries Blueberries Raisins Prunes (+) VEGETABLES: (-) Carrots Eggplant Corn Onions Red bell pepper Beets Broccoli Brussels sprouts Spinach Kale (+)
1. It’s highly recommended to consume from 5 to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables daily to ensure a balanced diet and prevent certain heart diseases, neurodegeneratives, cancers, digestive disorders and to combat overweight and obesity .
2. One serving equals half a cup of raw or cooked vegetables, one cup of salad vegetables and half a cup of fresh juice.
3. Select mixed vegetables, both raw and cooked, giving preference to those with bright and vivid colors, as these natural pigments are exceptional sources of antioxidants: oranges, red bell peppers, strawberries, broccoli florets, avocados, strawberries, carrots, eggplants, tomatoes , corn,…
4. Drink plenty of water during the day. Before breakfast take a cup of warm water with lemon. Your digestion will thank you and you’ll be giving to your body an extra of Vitamin C (powerful antioxidant that helps preventing several cardiovascular diseases, cataracts and macular degeneration, among others).
5. Exercise your body and sweats. Physical exercise will activate your circulation and you will eliminate toxins through the skin.
6. Drink green tea, as this powerful antioxidant will help you fighting cellular aging, preventing wrinkles, strengthening bones, lowering cholesterol levels, reducing stress, preventing colds and flu, as well as reducing glucose levels in blood and thus preventing obesity and diabetes risk.