Oxidative stress can occur in our bodies when oxygen molecules split apart resulting in unpaired electrons. These lone electrons are otherwise known as free radicals. This occurrence can damage DNA, proteins, and cells, and has been associated with many diseases. Various factors have been linked to a buildup of free radicals, including air pollutants, tobacco, alcohol, and junk foods. Some foods fight against free radicals, particularly those that are high in antioxidants. To keep yourself and your family healthy, be sure to include plenty of these foods in your diet.
Blueberries are packed with both antioxidants and nutrients, containing more antioxidants than many other fruits and veggies. Blueberries help your body to reduce inflammation and neutralize free radicals. There’s a certain type of antioxidants in blueberries called anthocyanins, and it’s these which have been associated with lowering cholesterol, blood pressure, and reducing the risk of heart disease.
Kale is a highly nutritious green vegetable rich in vitamins C, K, and A. According to a study in Health Line, consuming a high amount of vitamin C can ‘increase your blood antioxidant levels by up to 30%.’ vitamin K has been associated with improved bone health and cognitive health. Then there’s vitamin A which provides excellent support for the immune system. Kale has plenty of antioxidants, as well as being a great source of calcium.
Spinach is full of minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants, while also being low calorie. Spinach includes two antioxidants called zeaxanthin and lutein, which protect the eyes from UV rays. One of the minerals that spinach contains is folic acid, otherwise known as B9, which supports both tissue growth and cellar function. Spinach also contains iron, which creates the hemoglobin that we need for oxygen.
Walnuts have more antioxidants than any other nut. They are incredibly high in Omega-3, which is essential for the body’s health and may lessen the risk of heart disease. Inflammation causes various different diseases, and walnuts contain polyphenols which help to combat inflammation. Nuts contain zinc which has immune boosting properties and has even been linked to preventing ear infections and slight hearing loss.
Not technically a food, but green tea simply cannot be left off the antioxidant list! Green tea is packed with polyphenols, which can help to prevent cancer and reduce inflammation. The tea contains a substance called EGCG, which helps to protect cells against damage. It’s the EGCG, which is one of the strongest antioxidant compounds in green tea. Some studies have also suggested that green tea has anti-aging properties.
Fish is loaded with vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids. Eating fish regularly has many health benefits. The antioxidants in fish are associated with preventing various diseases and boosting the immune system. Some evidence suggests that eating enough fish can reduce your chances of suffering from a heart attack or a stroke. As we age, our brains are prone to decline, yet eating enough fish can help support your cognitive health and slow down the brain’s aging process. Fish has also been associated with boosting your mood and combating some symptoms of depression.
Red Cabbage contains many antioxidants and healthy nutrients, including vitamins K, C, and A. It contains a group of antioxidants called anthocyanins, which help improve heart health and reduce the risk of cancer. According to Health Line, studies have shown that red Cabbage contains 4.5 times more antioxidants than green cabbage. The vitamin K1 inside cabbage can also help to strengthen your bones.
Beets contain pigments called betalains; they have been suggested to help digestive issues and prevent a risk of colon cancer. Beets contain fiber, which is beneficial against various diseases and to improve digestive health. These also include potassium, which can help to lower blood pressure levels and boost your heart health.
It’s not all vegetables that can help to fight off free radicals. Thankfully, chocolate does a pretty good job of it too! Dark chocolate contains antioxidants and nutrients which are beneficial for our health. Chocolate is also a great mood-boosting food. Dark chocolate has been linked to health benefits such as promoting good cholesterol, reducing inflammation, and lowering the risk of heart disease.
These foods aren’t just great for your body; many of them have also been associated with an improved mood. When it comes to feeling stressed and anxious, foods play a much greater role than you’d think. Other mood-boosting foods include bananas, cheese, and fermented foods. Eating enough of these foods will help you to reduce stress levels in your body.