Antioxidant-rich foods improve skin health, are good for heart health and have countless other positive effects. For example, they help delay or prevent cell damage and the damaging effects of oxidative stress. Oxidative stress increases the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
There are many antioxidant vitamins, minerals and other substances, such as vitamins A, C, K and E, as well as zinc, iodine, manganese, glutathione, alpha-lipoic acid, quercetin, carotenoids, zeaxanthin and flavonoids. It is therefore essential to consume foods rich in antioxidants as they neutralise free radicals and protect against their harmful effects. There are many such foods, but here are just a few.
One of the best antioxidant-rich foods is blueberries. This fruit is very high in vitamin C and low in calories. It improves brain function, lowers cholesterol and blood pressure. It is also rich in anthocyanins, which reduce the risk of heart disease.
Strawberries are also very rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants and are rich in anthocyanins. The darker the colour, the richer it is in this plant compound. Strawberries protect the heart by reducing LDL cholesterol levels and increasing HDL levels.
Spinach also contains two great antioxidants, one is lutein and the other is zeaxanthin. Both antioxidants play a role in preventing age-related macular degeneration.
Purple cabbage is rich in the antioxidants vitamins A, C and K, all of which are involved in strengthening the immune system and maintaining healthy skin. With an outstanding content of anthocyanins, purple cabbage is very healthy as it reduces inflammation, promotes weight loss, protects against heart disease and has anti-cancer effects.
Tomatoes contain high levels of antioxidant vitamins A and C. They are also rich in lycopene, which reduces the risk of heart attack and improves skin health.
Beetroot contains many antioxidant betaines. This compound has a great role in improving digestion and may also offer some protection against colon cancer. Beetroot is rich not only in dietary fibre but also in potassium, iron and folic acid. These minerals play a prominent role in reducing inflammation.