Antioxidants are essential for a healthy life. They protect the body from the harmful effects of free radicals, leading to diseases and aging. Here are five of the best antioxidant foods that you should try today to help lower your disease risk and keep your cells functioning at their highest level – we first need to understand how free radicals affect you.
What Are Free Radicals?
Free radicals are positively charged particles that travel around the body. They latch onto other molecules and turn them into free radicals, which starts a chain reaction of destruction.
When free radicals build up over time, they cause oxidative stress (damage to proteins, DNA, and cell health throughout the body). Because of this, it is associated with many chronic diseases like cancer, atherosclerosis, heart disease, wrinkles, and premature age-related skin aging.
What Increases Free Radicals In Your Body?
Several factors can increase the presence of destructive free radicals in your body, including:
- over-exposure to sunlight
- environmental pollutants
- tobacco smoke
- household chemicals
- industrial solvents
- stress and long-term grief
- some medication
- illegal drugs
Free radicals are also a natural by-product of chemical processes within your body – for example, metabolism produces them as a result.
You can help reduce this load by choosing organic skin care products, avoiding household cleaning chemicals, or looking at ways to manage stress through healthy diet choices like exercise, yoga, and meditation.
The best way to fight free radicals is with wholesome diets rich in the best antioxidant foods. They provide you with sufficient protection from harmful effects caused by these molecules.
How To Eliminate Free Radicals?
To stay healthy and fight free radicals effectively, you need a diet rich in antioxidants that can keep tissues functioning well by protecting cells from these destructive molecules.
Antioxidants can also prevent health conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart diseases (including stroke), and liver disease (including kidney disease).
A diet full of the best antioxidant foods ensures our body stays healthy by fighting off harmful substances like free radicals.
5 Best Antioxidant Foods That Help Eliminate Free Radicals
There are many nutritious foods to write about. However, the following five I consider being some of the best antioxidant foods due to the immense amounts of studies supporting their antioxidant activities.
Aronia Berries (Chokeberries)
Chokeberry products are some of the most nutrient-rich fruits available. They contain relatively high levels of anthocyanins, powerful antioxidants that can offer health benefits to people who consume them daily.
Chokeberries also contain higher antioxidants than many other commonly consumed fruits like blueberries and blackberries, known as rich sources. Countless studies show how powerful chokeberries are as an antioxidant and the many ways they benefit your health.
Their high antioxidant capacity offers health protection as an:
Lab experiments showed that chokeberries are one of the most potent free radical scavengers among other berries. (See source at section 3.1)
Matcha tea is a powder made from ground green tea leaves and is an ancient Japanese drink. It has been used for centuries by the Japanese to boost their health, prevent illness, and promote a healthy lifestyle. It is, arguably, the most potent antioxidant food in existence.
One study stated, “Matcha is one of the richer sources of flavonoids, especially rutin.”
Rutin is a type of polyphenol that has antioxidant properties. Further, it helps to seal blood vessels, prevent inflammation, and can be helpful for the immune system.
Another 2021 study on matcha tea described rutin as a polyphenolic compound with potent antioxidant properties. It can strengthen blood vessels both in the cardiovascular system or in other parts of the body like diabetes-related pathologies might be prevented by this.
Oxidative stress could also be reduced through Matcha’s anti-inflammatory action, which offers the potential for preventing neurodegenerative conditions (loss of function of your brain cells) such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Watercress is a green, leafy vegetable that grows in temperate areas. It has been used for millennia for medicinal purposes. It’s also often referred to as water parsley or water spinach.
It is an excellent source of Vitamin A, K, and C, making it one of the most nutritious vegetables globally. It is also high in minerals and essential nutrients like calcium, magnesium, sodium, and potassium.
- maintain digestive and kidney health
- rid of toxins from the body
- inhibit the development of cancer cells
- treat a sore throat
- treat tuberculosis
- treat scabies
The study concluded that watercress is an excellent source of antioxidants.
Another study added that it could effectively treat:
- catarrh of the respiratory tract
ACCORDING TO THE STUDY, the FDA has approved watercress as a medicinal plant. The study further revealed the many potent antioxidant phenolic compounds found in this vegetable, such as:
- chlorogenic acid
- caffeic acid
- coumaric acid
- and many more
Oatmeal is one of the most nutritious breakfast options. It is one of the best antioxidant foods to eat because it has a very high content of beta-glucan, a soluble fiber with incredible health benefits. It also contains fascinating antioxidants that can protect your blood vessels, blood pressure, heart, and more.
Oatmeal is rich in the antioxidant Vitamin E. It contains both kinds, “tocopherols and tocotrienols.” Research shows that it is much higher in Vitamin E tocotrienols. (See page 32 of the study)
Tocotrienols are not well known by the average person. However, this type of Vitamin E is incredible for your health. (See a detailed article I wrote on tocotrienols. You will be surprised)
Oatmeal is also extremely high in beta-glucan soluble fiber. Beta-glucan is an effective antioxidant. (See 2022 study) and immune modulator. It also balances cholesterol and triglyceride levels and benefits other health factors. Beta-glucan helps fight free radicals that are on a destruction path throughout your body – it’s a powerhouse for your health!
Another plus for oatmeal is that it contains a particular group of antioxidants called avenanthramide (AVA). It is exceptionally high in AVAs, and a study “reported that AVAs have an antioxidant activity of 10–30 times greater than that of other phenolic antioxidants…”
Another study announced that AVAs are potent antioxidants, are anti-inflammatory. and antiproliferative (stop infectious cell growth), and can protect you from many diseases, including age-related ones.
This super antioxidant food merits being part of everyone’s diet.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Since ancient times, olive oil has been used in various ways. Evidence shows that it can add years to our lives and prevent or lessen the effects of many human ailments and diseases. It begs the question –Why is extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) called the “Elixir Of Life?” Does it contain beneficial antioxidants? Let’s take a look.
Although EVOO contains numerous nutrients and vitamins essential for health, its primary three “potent” polyphenols are:
Oleuropein: an effective antioxidant proven to prevent and treat high blood pressure. Oleuropein is a killer of various bacteria, viruses, fungi, molds, and parasites. And scientists discovered that it could also protect the heart and brain, fight cancer, and has anti-inflammatory properties.
Oleocanthal: is an anti-inflammatory agent, similar to ibuprofen, which further supports its use as a treatment for chronic inflammatory disorders such as arthritis. It also protects the brain from disease and fights cancer.
Hydroxytyrosol: Is the most potent antioxidant globally, and EVOO is an excellent source. Studies show that it is also 99% bioavailable. In other words, when ingested, none of it gets destroyed by your body.
The health benefits of this antioxidant are astounding: (Source)
- protects the cardiovascular system
- regulates cholesterol
- prevent atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries
- regulate glutathione concentration
- enhances physical exercise by
- prevents muscle loss (increases the production of glutathione, reduces the production of lactic acid)
- protects the brain from diseases
- is antimicrobial (inhibits bacterial growth)
- helps to prevent osteoporosis
- protects the retinas of your eyes
- protects the skin from UV rays,
- reduces the pigmentation of the skin
- is anti-aging (See also a previous article I wrote on the anti-aging benefits of hydroxytyrosol)
More interestingly, hydroxytyrosol is an activator and regulator of nuclear factor erythroid 2–related factor 2 (Nrf2). (See source at section 3.4)
Nrf2 is a powerful cell protector and regulator of oxidative stress. It supports antioxidant activity against free radicals.
It has been dubbed the “master regulator” of antioxidant response.
The bottom line is if Nrf2 can be activated, the oxidative stress caused by free radicals will be significantly diminished since Nfr2 can and does control how hundreds of genes in your body react to free radicals. It regulates your survival genes. (See source at section 1.5)
All of the benefits mentioned above can be obtained by simply adding EVOO to your diet. It is with certainty one of the best antioxidant foods in the world.
The excellent health benefits of the five best antioxidant foods mentioned here (Aronia berries, Matcha tea, watercress, oatmeal, and EVOO) are all supported by science. Adding one or all of them to your diet will help you stay healthier and may even prolong your lifespan.
They can practically protect every system in your body from damage that free radicals may cause.