Within the nutritional composition of food, there are chemical compounds that allow the inhibition of the action of free radicals, generating the preservation of the health of consumers and avoiding the damage or deterioration that they can cause in our cells.

These compounds are antioxidants , which are present in a wide variety of foods.

For this reason, in the following article we will talk about a wide list of antioxidant foods that strengthen our health, thanks to the presence of these substances in their composition.

What are antioxidants?

Antioxidants, as we previously mentioned, are chemical compounds that have the ability to delay the oxidation of cells , found mainly in foods such as fruits and vegetables . They are synthesized by plants and are characterized by being highly reactive, mainly in the presence of free radicals.

Despite the fact that our body produces free radicals to fulfill certain functions, these molecules are usually very aggressive and must be eliminated when they are in excess , thus avoiding alterations and deterioration in the body.

Note: Antioxidants are classified as enzymatic and non-enzymatic. The enzymatic ones are those produced by our body and the non-enzymatic ones are found in vitamins A, C and E, as well as lycopenes and flavonoids. (1)

What are the best antioxidant foods?

Within foods of plant origin, there are some with a higher content of antioxidants, becoming the most recommended to prevent diseases and slow down cell aging. We mention and describe below which are the best antioxidant foods :

1. Blueberries

Blueberries are red fruits, characterized by being the food with the highest contribution of antioxidants. They also contain important contributions of vitamin C and vitamins of group B. 

To highlight: Blueberries contain fiber and therefore help speed up the digestion process. Its consumption is usually direct and fresh, to take full advantage of all its benefits and nutrients.

2. Strawberries

Strawberries are a diuretic and cleansing fruit, it is one of the richest in vitamin C content and other compounds such as flavonoids, anthocyanins and phenols, which have antioxidant properties and are found mainly in the achenes (small dots on the surface of the fruit ). 

Note: Strawberries are mainly consumed fresh, in jams , juices, smoothies and cereals. 

3. Orange

The nature of the orange and its nutritional composition, allows us to easily demonstrate its antioxidant capacity. It contains high levels of vitamin C, vitamin A , folic acid and quercetin (flavonoid pigment). 

You should know: Consuming the orange fresh will allow you to preserve all of its nutrients, although juices and teas from the fruit’s peel have proven their efficiency. (two)

4. Lemon

The antioxidant capacity of lemon allows to improve the health of many of our cells, including skin, hair and nails. It is a citrus fruit that contains high concentrations of vitamin C and flavonoids, which allows antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. 

To highlight: Lemon is consumed in juices, jams , even as a dressing in healthy salads .

5. Broccoli

Broccoli is considered one of the most important vegetables, due to its properties and benefits, including its great antioxidant potential that reduces the activity of free radicals in the body.

Note: Broccoli can be eaten raw or cooked , in salads, pastas, or as an appetizer.

6. Tomato

Tomato contains one of the most powerful natural antioxidants, called lycopene. It is in charge of supplying its characteristic color and is responsible for an important cell protection activity.

You should know: This food is the star ingredient of many salads and sauces , as well as being a good accompaniment to almost any dish. Its versatility allows its easy consumption. 

7. Grapes

Grapes are fruits with a low glycemic index and rich in fiber , they contain vitamin C and a wide variety of minerals such as potassium , iron, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sulfur, among others. 

To highlight: Grapes contain flavonoids and resveratrol as main antioxidants , especially in the peel of the fruit and in the seeds, so its consumption is preferably whole and fresh, for greater benefit. (3)

8. Carrot

The carrot is a vegetable with significant amounts of carotenoids and vitamin A, as well as minerals such as calcium, potassium and magnesium . Its antioxidant content helps detoxify the body and provides eye health care. It is eaten raw or cooked, in salads, stews, creams and soups. 

9. She

Garlic contains important protection mechanisms in the consumer’s body, due to its large amount of antioxidants that influence depending on the dose. 

Note: Garlic contains vitamin C and selenium, which are powerful components to benefit the health of the body . Garlic is eaten cooked or raw, as a dressing for salads and stews.

10. Pumpkin

Pumpkin contains important vitamins, which reduce aging and cell deterioration . In this sense, vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene and flavonoids are responsible for preventing the harmful effects produced by free radicals in our body. (4)

You should know: Pumpkin is a vegetable that is eaten cooked , mainly in creams and soups, although healthy desserts such as cakes and flans are also made. However, there is also a great nutritional contribution from its seeds.

11. Nuts

Between quality and quantity of antioxidants present in nuts , walnuts take first place. They are even capable of providing twice as many antioxidants and provide benefits to the entire body, above all, highlighting the cardiovascular system. 

To highlight: Nuts can be consumed with yogurt, salads, stews, desserts and sauces, obtaining 8% of the recommended daily intake (5)

12. Spinach

Spinach is a green leafy vegetable with important nutritional properties, it contains flavonoids, carotenoids, fatty acids such as omega 3 , vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin E, as well as folic acid . 

All these components allow spinach to reduce oxidative stress in the body and strengthen important structures, such as muscles, bones and the visual system. 

Note: Spinach is eaten raw or cooked , in salads , omelets, cakes, creams, soups, and meatballs. If they are eaten cooked, they lose a little of their calorie content and part of their nutrients, but when eaten raw they must be washed properly to avoid external agents.

Key Findings

  • Antioxidant foods are those that have certain micronutrients capable of acting against free radicals and benefiting the health of the consumer.
  • Among the antioxidant components we can highlight flavonoids, lutein, carotenoids, lycopene, vitamin C, vitamin A and vitamin E. 
  • Antioxidant foods are of plant origin, because they are synthesized by plants.
  • There are two main types of antioxidants , enzymatic (produced by the body) and non-enzymatic (consumed through food).

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