Antioxidants are compounds that the body cannot produce, and that must be acquired through a healthy and balanced diet. There are many foods that provide antioxidants, capable of preventing various degenerative pathologies.

In the following article, we give you all the necessary information so that you know precisely about the antioxidant foods that protect the body.

What are antioxidant foods?

Antioxidants are chemical compounds that the human body uses to eliminate free radicals that cause cell oxidation (cellular damage) in its different parts, and also to eliminate DNA alterations that accelerate body aging, playing a role important in human health. (1)

To highlight: Antioxidant foods have in their chemical composition elements that contribute to the elimination of free radicals , which are metabolites that cause deterioration and premature aging of the body’s cells.

What are antioxidant foods?

There is a great variety in the plant kingdom of foods that provide us with antioxidant compounds and that must be included in the daily diet. Here are the main sources:

1. Broccoli

The antioxidant action of this vegetable is mainly due to beta-carotenes (lutein and zeaxanthin), isocyanates and vitamin C (2) , which make up its chemical composition.

For this reason, the antioxidant property of broccoli helps reduce the risk of many diseases such as arthritis, heart disease, diabetes and fatty liver. It also has an important anti-cancer action, while favoring the strengthening of the immune system.

Important: The human organism is not capable of synthesizing antioxidant compounds , so its intake must be done through the consumption of food in the daily diet.

2. Red fruits

This line stands out for its vitamin C content (an antioxidant compound by nature), with red fruits such as strawberries, raspberries, currants, blackberries, among others, being rich in this element.

However, the red fruit that stands out the most for its high antioxidant content is the blueberry , due to the presence of proanthocyanidins, a compound endorsed by several studies as a powerful antioxidant. (3)

3. Tomato

The antioxidant properties of lycopene and vitamin C, both present in tomato , favor the protection of cells against oxidative stress, produced by the action of free radicals, which are responsible for health problems such as chronic and degenerative diseases. .

Note: Studies indicate that lycopene is a strong antioxidant , more potent even than vitamin E or vitamin C. (4)

4. Artichoke

Thanks to the antioxidant flavonoid compounds of this vegetable, such as apigenin and luteolin, they contribute to the fight against cancer cells in colon cancer. In addition, the artichoke helps to keep cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood balanced.

Note: Studies have shown the antioxidant capacity of artichoke leaves, where its effective action against free radicals is determined. (5)

5. Grape

The grape for its part, contains a powerful antioxidant called resveratrol. This compound is a chemical substance, which is present in the skin of red grapes, it has protective properties for the cardiovascular system, in the neurological system, in diabetes and against cancer. (6)

To highlight: The grape also contains a significant amount of vitamin C, which together with resveratrol, contributes to an effective antioxidant activity.

6. Garlic

Garlic has great benefits , since it seems that most of its components have antioxidant activity , among them with greater capacity are S-allyl-cysteine , ajoene, quercetin and allicin. (7)

Tip: To fully benefit from the benefits of this bulb, it must be eaten raw and freshly crushed without the peel.

7. Black tea

Scientific studies have shown that black tea contains a high content of antioxidants called polyphenols , more specifically flavonoids called anthocyanins and catechins that enhance the body’s immune function. (8)

Important: The antioxidant capacity of black tea is more oriented towards the protection of the cardiovascular system.

8. Cinnamon

Cinnamon bark has a diversity of flavonoid compounds, with antioxidant capacity such as vitamin C, quercetin and cinnamaldehyde. (9)

It is considered a protector of the circulatory and cardiovascular system , by helping to control cholesterol levels, as well as being useful for balancing glucose in the blood.

9. Dark chocolate

Dark chocolate has been recognized in many studies for its high antioxidant content, thanks to its compounds such as catechins, epicatechins and procyanidins. This is why the consumption of dark chocolate is associated with cardiovascular health and the improvement of other pathologies such as cerebrovascular diseases. (10)

Note: Dark chocolate contains between 70 and 99% pure cocoa , making it a very healthy and beneficial food for the body.

Key Findings

  • Antioxidant foods come mainly from fresh fruits and vegetables and should be consumed as part of the daily diet.
  • Its main characteristic is that they provide vitamins and polyphenol compounds with high antioxidant capacity.
  • Its action is based on the elimination of free radicals or metabolites that cause cell deterioration.
  • They help prevent many cellular degenerative pathologies, which can cause disorders in the cardiovascular system and diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

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