Facts are facts — every human on this earth has within our bodies both antioxidants and free radicals.
Without getting into the science behind it (the article does), as humans what we really need to be concerned about is when the level of antioxidants in the body is lower than that of free radicals — due to poor nutrition, toxin exposure or other factors — our bodies get into trouble. The effect is accelerated aging, damaged or mutated cells, broken-down tissue, the activation of harmful genes within DNA, and an overloaded immune system — all scary stuff to say the least.
In the Body Reboot book it talks about the vital importance of vitamins and minerals, detoxing with greens, and in general, adopting a dietary lifestyle that reboots your system and promotes great health — you can get more information here.
In the following article we will find out more about antioxidants and the elite foods and herbs that increases their levels within us.
What Are Antioxidants?
“While there are many ways to describe what antioxidants do inside the body, one definition of antioxidants is any substance that inhibits oxidation, especially one used to counteract the deterioration of stored food products or removes potentially damaging oxidizing agents in a living organism.
Antioxidants include dozens of food-based substances you may have heard of before, such as carotenoids like beta-carotene, lycopene and vitamin C. These are several examples of antioxidants that inhibit oxidation, or reactions promoted by oxygen, peroxide and/or free radicals. Research suggests that when it comes to longevity and overall health, some of the benefits of consuming antioxidant foods, herbs, teas and supplements include:
- Slower signs of aging, including of the skin, eyes, tissue, joints, heart and brain
- Healthier, more youthful, glowing skin
- Reduced cancer risk
- Detoxification support
- Longer life span
- Protection against heart disease and stroke
- Less risk for cognitive problems, such as dementia
- Reduced risk for vision loss or disorders like macular degeneration and cataracts
The Elite 10 Antioxidant Foods
Antioxidants may be easier to add to your diet than you might think. Based on ORAC scores provided by Superfoodly (based on research from a broad number of sources), below are some of the top antioxidant foods by weight:
- Goji berries: 4,310 ORAC score
- Wild blueberries: 9,621 ORAC score
- Dark chocolate: 20,816 ORAC score
- Pecans: 17,940 ORAC score
- Artichoke (boiled): 9,416 ORAC score
- Elderberries: 14,697 ORAC score
- Kidney beans: 8,606 ORAC score
- Cranberries: 9,090 ORAC score
- Blackberries: 5,905 ORAC score
- Cilantro: 5,141 ORAC score
The Elite 10 Antioxidant Herbs
Certain herbs, spices and essential oils derived from nutrient-dense plants are extremely high in healing antioxidant compounds. Here is another list of the herbs you can try adding to your diet for increased protection against disease:
- Clove:314,446 ORAC score
- Cinnamon: 267,537 ORAC score
- Oregano: 159,277 ORAC score
- Turmeric: 102,700 ORAC score
- Cocoa: 80,933 ORAC score
- Cumin: 76,800 ORAC score
- Parsley (dried): 74,349 ORAC score
- Basil: 67,553 ORAC score
- Ginger: 28,811 ORAC score
- Thyme: 27,426 ORAC score
Health Benefits of Antioxidant Foods & Herbs
1. Slow the Effects of Aging by Reducing Free Radical Damage
The single most important benefit of antioxidants is counteracting free radicals found inside every human body, which are very destructive to things like tissue and cells. Free radicals are responsible for contributing to many health issues and have connections to such diseases as cancer and premature aging of the skin or eyes.
2. Protect Vision and the Eyes
The antioxidants vitamin C, vitamin E and beta-carotene have all been shown to have positive effects on preventing macular degeneration, or age-related vision loss/blindness. Many foods that provide these nutrients also supply antioxidants called lutein and zeaxanthin, nicknamed the eye vitamins, and found in brightly colored foods like fruits and vegetables — especially leafy greens and types that are deep orange or yellow.
3. Reduce the Effects of Aging on the Skin
Perhaps most noticeably, free radicals speed up the aging process when it comes to the appearance and health of your skin. Antioxidants may help combat this damage, especially from eating sources high in vitamin C, beta-carotene and other antioxidants.
Vitamin A and C have been connected to a decrease in the appearance of wrinkles and skin dryness. Vitamin C, specifically, is a powerful antioxidant that can help reduce the effect of oxidative damage caused by pollution, stress or poor diet.
4. Help Prevent Stroke and Heart Disease
Since antioxidants help prevent damage of tissues and cells caused by free radicals, they’re needed to protect against heart disease and stroke. At this point, the data does not show that all antioxidants are effective in protecting against heart disease, but some, such as vitamin C, do seem to be.
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition featured a study that found those with high levels of vitamin C in their blood had almost a 50 percent decreased risk of stroke.
5. May Help Decrease Risk of Cancer
Studies have found that high intakes of vitamin A, vitamin C and other antioxidants could help prevent or treat several forms of cancer thanks to their ability to control malignant cells in the body and cause cell cycle arrest and apoptosis (destruction) of cancer cells. Retinoic acid, derived from vitamin A, is one chemical that plays important roles in cell development and differentiation as well as cancer treatment.
6. Can Help Prevent Cognitive Decline, Such as Dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease
Oxidative stress is believed to play a central role in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases, but a nutrient-dense diet seems to lower one’s risk. The Journal of the American Medical Association of Neurology reports that higher intake of foods rich in antioxidants, such as vitamin C and vitamin E, may modestly reduce long-term risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s.”
-Antioxidants inhibit oxidation in the body, also called free radical damage, which is tied to stress.
-We get most antioxidants from our diets, which help counteract effects of an unhealthy lifestyle, such as accelerated aging, damaged or mutated cells, broken-down tissue within the skin or eyes, the activation of harmful genes within DNA, and low immunity.
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For more information about the Elite 10 Antioxidant Foods & Herbs, visit antioxidants.
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