The Power of Antioxidants

The year is going by pretty fast and  many people are trying so hard to avoid exhaustion in the pursuit of their goals and ambitions. Hence the importance of this article. A little "something" to give a boost to the usual day to day hassles.

More often than not, when it comes to the issue of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, it is so easy to focus on the "big" issues such as weight loss, exercise, smoking cessation, cutting down alcohol consumption, reducing salt intake,working out, balanced diet and a host of others. However, people don't tend to appreciate the benefit of "small" but important things such as consciously getting in some antioxidants.

An Antioxidant is a substance that reduces damage to the human body due to reactive oxygen species, especially those caused by free radicals. These free radicals are dangerous to tissues and cells of the body. Experiments have shown that antioxidants interacted with free radicals and stabilized them thereby preventing the free radicals from causing damage.

The process of oxidation damages cells and can lead to the development of disease such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's disease, arthritis, heart disease and cancer. 

Antioxidants are powerful substances required for maintaining good health.They literally neutralize and mop up free radicals which are innocuously dangerous to our bodies. These substances have the capability of counteracting the damaging effects of oxidation. Examples of antioxidants are enzymes, vitamin C, vitamin E and beta carotene.

Increasing your level of antioxidant is imperative in a seemingly polluted world that we live in. Boosting your antioxidant intake have health benefit to the skin (by preventing premature aging of the skin), the immune system, the eyes, memory, as well as the prostate health in men. They may also lower your risks of infections.The health benefits of antioxidants are immense. Some of the natural antioxidants are:

  • Beta-carotene
  • Lutein
  • Lycopene
  • Selenium
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
Below is a list of healthy sources of  antioxidants :

1) Dark Chocolate- This is good news to all chocolate lovers. A genuine excuse to indulge! They are rich in polyphenols which are packed with antioxidants.

2) Blueberries - fruits generally are rich sources of antioxidants. They may help protect cells from damage and lower inflammation.

3) Strawberries - they are rich in phytochemicals that help protect against cancer-causing agents in the diet and in the enviroment.

4) Raspberries - a very rich source of vitamin C.

5) Kale- this is a cruciferous vegetable which is rich in vitamin A, C, K, B6, manganese, calcium, copper, potassium and magnesium. It is very rich in antioxidant such as beta-carotene and C. Quercetin and Kaempferol are powerful antioxidants found in kale.

6) Red Cabbage- This is rich in anthocyanins which is a type of antioxidant.

7) Beans - black beans, small red beans and kidney beans are very loaded with antioxidant goodness.

8) Beets -they are rich in the natural antioxidants- polyphenol. Red beets provide tremendous healing benefits. They are also a rich source of dietary fiber, potassium, manganese and folate. They are also rich in vitamin C, zinc, copper, and iron.

9) Spinach- they are particularly rich in the antioxidant carotenoids.

10) Oranges - All citrus fruits, of which orange is an example, are rich in carotenoids, a class of antioxidant that is responsible for their colour.

11) Nuts- especially almonds, walnuts and hazelnuts are very rich in vitamin E which is a natural antioxidant.

12) Grapes- especially the dark colored ones are loaded with phytochemicals which are antioxidants that might help protect against cancer and heart disease. Grapes also contain vitamin C and selenium.

I encourage you to deliberately consume antioxidant-rich food as part of your daily routine because the health benefits are so enormous. Work them into your diet schedule to enhance the totality of your being. 

"Good health and good sense are two of life's greatest blessings"
                                                                              -Publilius Syrus

Warm Regards,
Dr Funmi


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