Many of us dread growing old and watch our bodies age before our very eyes. What once was supple and smooth skin is now dry and starting to wrinkle. Illness and degenerative diseases can also come with aging as our vital organs also begin to decline in health. Free radicals have a hand in causing our bodies to lose its vitality and youthfulness. While we still can, it is best to drink and eat foods that are high in antioxidants to help slow down a process that is, unfortunately, inevitable for many of us.
What are free radicals?
Free radicals cause damage to the body at the cellular level. When we are not careful, free radicals can cause premature aging like wrinkles, sagging skin, and grey hair. It can also cause cardiovascular disease and age-related vision decline.
Free radicals may sound scary but it is a part of nature. It is naturally occurring; nothing we can do can stop or avoid this process. However, we can do our part in avoiding factors that contribute to increasing free radicals in the body. For example, lifestyle choices like eating junk food, exposing the skin to pollution, smoking and drinking alcohol are all contributing factors that we can all forego to help the body produce less free radicals.
What are antioxidants?
Antioxidants are helpful in keeping our bodies healthy as they can neutralise the effect of free radicals. It acts as protectors of our body’s cells.
There are many foods rich in antioxidants. The most common antioxidants we know are Vitamins C and E. Not all antioxidants work the same way though. There are many types of antioxidants and they all play different roles in keeping our bodies healthy.
There is EGCG or ‘Epigallocatechin Gallate’, a catechin that is found in green tea. It potentially has anti-cancer properties and is also popular in keeping the heart in top shape. Lutein and zeaxanthin are antioxidants that affect the cells in the eyes. Eating foods like spinach and kale, which are both rich in different antioxidants, can help minimise eye vision problems in the future.
How Do We Benefit from Antioxidants?
The best way is to consume different food items that are rich in antioxidants. A variety of fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices, and fungus added to your diet will help make eating and drinking an exciting activity to your palate.
Here are antioxidants you can easily add to your daily diet:
This root crop is rich in gingerol. It is a bioactive compound and acts as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant in the body. Due to its widespread availability, ginger is affordable and can be enjoyed as a tea, eaten raw (without its skin!), or can be added to dishes for a little spice.
Green tea is very rich in antioxidants. It is also sold as matcha and is said to be more potent than ordinary green tea. Matcha is a Japanese way of preparation and uses whole green tea leaves (as opposed to crushed or cut), dried, and then made into a powder. Drink green tea to enjoy its anti-cancer benefits.
Dark leafy vegetables like spinach have a variety of antioxidants like vitamin C and lutein. They are also loaded with minerals like iron and magnesium. Aside from cooking or steaming spinach, enjoy it as a shake! Blend spinach with matcha powder and a banana for a tasty and healthy treat.
Beets are best enjoyed in your salad, so toss in a few slices the next time you have one. Beets are rich in betalains and help lessen your chances of developing certain types of cancer.
Goji berries are high in Lycium barbarum polysaccharides which have been hailed as a very potent antioxidant as it addresses a range of health issues like memory enhancement and heart health. Goji berries are packed with minerals and vitamins as well.
A Diet High in Antioxidants
When you are looking to improve your diet, make sure to add foods that are rich in antioxidants. Make sure to be creative and try as much as you can. There are many food items available in the market, such as Superfoods Australia, superfoodsaustralia.com.au that are healthy and nutritious. Try to stay away from junk food, and instead use garlic, cloves, and a variety of spices to make every dish tasty.