Are you consuming enough antioxidants in your diet? When you’re busy analyzing the nutritional content of your food, you may overlook this critical element. After all, “antioxidants” aren’t listed on most nutritional labels, leaving many people to believe that they aren’t important. While they may not be listed on nutritional labels, antioxidants play a key role in our health and well-being. The importance of antioxidants and how they work is a topic worth detailed investigation.
What is an Antioxidant?
Antioxidants are organic compounds with free radical-fighting properties, such as vitamin C for instance. Our bodies are exposed to harmful chemicals known as free radicals on a regular basis. Although invisible to the naked eye, free radicals are found in the air, water, food, and even the beauty products that we use on our skin. Thankfully, our bodies are able to process small concentrations of free radicals without any ill effect. But when large concentrations begin to build up, it can place us at risk for disease and illness, which is why it’s important to consume plenty of antioxidants. It’s possible to check your antioxidant level through a simple blood test!
Benefits of Antioxidants
Antioxidants work to protect healthy cells from damage caused by free radicals. When free radicals are allowed to roam unchecked, they can trigger destructive cycles in which healthy cells become damaged. Furthermore, there’s some belief that exposure to free radicals may contribute to cancer and other diseases. Studies have shown that people who consume antioxidant-rich foods on a regular basis have a lower risk of developing cancer when compared to people who consume minimal amounts of antioxidants. This alone should be reason enough to add more antioxidants to your diet.
Another reason to consume plenty of antioxidants is because they strengthen the immune system. If you have a tendency to get sick at the first sign of cold weather, try consuming more oranges. Oranges contain a high concentration of the antioxidant vitamin C, which may boost your immune system and protect you from illness.
So, which foods contain the most antioxidants? See below for a list of the top sources of antioxidants.
Foods with high concentrations of antioxidants: