Doctors and researchers have long believed that antioxidants may protect cells from the unstable molecules that are known as free radicals. Free radicals enter the body in a variety of ways, including air pollution and cigarette smoke. To counter these disease creating molecules the body needs antioxidants and eating foods containing antioxidants is an excellent way to protect the body and stop the progression of disease.
Supplements are one way to insure that the body has enough antioxidants, however, by eating foods containing antioxidants there is no need for a supplement and there are added health benefits from a healthy diet. There are many foods that are antioxidant rich, including those described here.
Strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries are all full of fiber, minerals, and vitamins that make them healthy food choices. What’s more, they are filled with antioxidants that may help prevent heart disease and cancer.
Blueberries are thought to slow the age-relate loss of cognitive functions that lead to dementia. Strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries all contain a compound called ellagic acid that is thought to fight carcinogens.
Tomatoes are a wonder food when it comes to health benefits, which is probably what makes it one of the most popular of food choices for health benefits. This is due to lycopene, a compound in tomatoes that is twice as strong as beta carotene.
Tomatoes are credited with helping ward off certain cancers, stop macular degeneration and cataracts and help maintain cognitive abilities. Some studies suggest that tomatoes help prevent prostate and breast cancers.
In addition to lycopene, tomatoes contain glutathione, an antioxidant known to boost the immune system, which leads to overall health and prevention of common illnesses.
Broccoli, along with other cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower and cabbage, is filled with antioxidants that are thought to aid in the prevention of heart disease and cancer. The antioxidant contained in cruciferous vegetables breaks down estrogen in the body, this helps prevent breast cancer and other cancers that are estrogen sensitive.
Some of the cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli, contain beta carotene which is another anti oxidant known to help prevent cancer and heart disease.
Another beta carotene laden food is carrots. Beta carotene is a carotenoid, an antioxidant with healing properties. Beta carotene provides protection against a variety of cancers, including lung, bladder, breast, and esophageal cancer.
Other yellow-orange vegetables also contain beta carotene, such as sweet potatoes.
Although it may not be a good choice for fresh breath, garlic is an excellent choice as a health food. This odiferous herb is packed with antioxidants that can help prevent cancer, heart disease and fight the unwanted effects of aging.
Studies show that garlic can help lower cholesterol, reduce blood pressure, keeps blood from clotting and fights free radicals.
Garlic also fights yeast infections and helps treat asthma with its anti-fungal properties. The number of foods that are packed with antioxidants is much larger than what is listed here.
The point is to realize that a healthy diet can provide a wealth of antioxidants to help the body fight disease and slow many of the effects of aging.