What are antioxidants and why are they good for you? By definition, an antioxidant is a compound molecule that delays the oxidative rancidity by providing hydrogen from their own molecule to block formation of free radicals in fatty acids. In other words, antioxidants prevent or delay cell damage (possibly cancer) by blocking free radicals. When our body cells produce oxygen, we naturally produce free radicals, which can in return cause damage. Antioxidants act as “scavengers” by donating electrons and balancing the atom or molecule. Researchers say that you should try to incorporate antioxidants into your diet, either by foods or dietary antioxidant supplements. The food sources below are rich in antioxidants:
1. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate (with a high cocoa content) contains organic compounds that are active and function as antioxidants. Cocoa powder is found to decrease oxidized LDL (bad cholesterol) and prevent cell damage.
Blueberries are powerful antioxidants that are known for improving brain health including one’s memory. Research has shown that blueberries benefit the body as a whole, protecting the nervous system from oxidative stress, defending our blood system and decreasing our chance of getting cancer.
3. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds defend against cancer and aging cells. They are known to increase “HDL” (good cholesterol) and cognitive performance, and they also help to reduce inflammation as they are rich in omega- 3 fatty acids.
4. Pomegranate Seeds
Pomegranates are nutrient dense fruits that are known to protect against heart disease and cancer.
Spinach is one of the best sources of antioxidants because it is high in Vitamin A, Vitamin K, folate, magnesium, iron and Vitamin C. In return this lowers oxidative stress – for example decreasing stress in our blood vessels.