A lot of people aren’t sure exactly what an antioxidant is. Most, however, have an inkling they’re good for a person’s health. They’re right. In the most basic terms, antioxidants are substances that can prevent or delay cell damage. They can play a critical role in protecting cells against free radicals, which can cause heart disease, cancer and other serious medical issues. There are antioxidant supplements, but researchers aren’t quite convinced of their effectiveness. Another source comes in the form of various foods—fruits, vegetables and other items. Many are loaded with antioxidants, others not so much. WellWell has pulled together a partial list of antioxidant sources, some of which may be surprising.
What a great start—chocolate or most especially dark chocolate. It can contain up to 15 millimoles per liter (mmol) of antioxidants per 3.5 ounces. That is more than blueberries and raspberries—antioxidant favorites. The antioxidants in cocoa and dark chocolate also have other impressive health benefits.
Perhaps not part of a lot of regular diets, artichokes may be able to deliver an antioxidant punch to LDL cholesterol. This means that eating artichokes can lower a person’s risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Perhaps it was never President Bush’s favorite, but like other dark, leafy vegetables, broccoli holds its own in terms of antioxidants because it is rich in phenolics. These compounds are high in antioxidants and anti-cancer properties.
Blueberries are not only wonderfully tasty, but they are steeped in antioxidants, by some estimates hitting 9,019 total antioxidant capacity per cup. In case anyone is wondering, anthocyanins account for more than half the total polyphenol antioxidants in ripe blueberries.
If someone is in the market for the antioxidant melatonin, Montmorency Cherries is the go-to source. Yes, other cherries have their share, but the Montmorency variety is the clear winner. Among other things, melatonin protects the skin against ultraviolet radiation helping to repair damaged skin. Researchers have discovered that melatonin also helps repair sunburned skin, while it stimulates new skin-cell growth. Cherries are also loaded with Vitamin C, which is critical for building skin-friendly collagen.
Another antioxidant winner is the blackberry. It is packed with anthocyanins. Blackberries also hold their own in terms of vitamin C and fiber, both of which can reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease.
Whether someone likes pecan pie or not, they should not dismiss the nut in question. It’s a winner in terms of antioxidants, particularly vitamin E, which not only fights cell damage but also supports immune systems.
Beans and virtually all legumes are hailed for the ability to deliver fiber, protein, complex carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. That’s not all. They are also rich in phytonutrients and antioxidants, such as kaempferol. This antioxidant has anti-inflammatory properties and can help battle back cancer.
Do you have a favorite antioxidant source? Let us know at email@example.com.
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