Health Benefits of Antioxidants in Your Diet

Sep 10, 2009
Health benefits of fruits and vegetables were known for years, still these benefits seem to be even underestimated. The recent study conducted at the Institute of Food Research in Norwich revealed that antioxidants abound in fruits such as apples, peaches, nectarines and others.

According to the study fruits contain five times more polyphenols, super chemicals that protect body cells from damage, than it was previously found.

What are antioxidants?

In the body, polyphenols have antioxidant activity, preventing the damage from free radicals. In our everyday life, numerous factors such as stress, air pollution, illnesses, poor nutrition, ageing and others may contribute to the production of free radicals, which harm healthy cells in the body. Hair loss, wrinkles, low immune system, cancer, heart diseases and other conditions often become a result of the damage from free radicals.

Antioxidants are naturally occurring compounds that are important for cells protection from free radicals. Fruits and vegetables are well-known source of antioxidants such as polyphenols.

Recently, a new study found that cereals, including whole grain cereals and pop corn, contain a great amount of polyphenols.

Most people know about the benefits of eating whole grain foods, which are rich in fiber. Now, scientists say that it might be actually antioxidants that make whole grain bread and popcorn so healthy.   Dr Joe Vinson said that, for example, popcorn contains as many polyphenols as an apple.

Cereals such as wheat, corn, oats and rice have the highest levels of antioxidants. Products like raisin bran are especially rich in polyphenols, while common snack like pop corn should not be ignored.

Where to Find Antioxidants?

It is important to include food of different colors to increase the level of antioxidants in your diet. Eating antioxidants-rich food on a regular basis will improve your general health condition and help you prevent heart diseases, cancer, diabetes and many other health problems. What are the most common antioxidants and where they can be found?
  • Vitamin A and Caratenoids is mainly found in yellow, orange and red colored food, including carrots, peaches, apricots, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, papaya.

  • Vitamin E is found in vegetable oils, green leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds, whole grains.

  • Vitamin C is abundant in citrus fruits, like oranges and lemon, tomatoes, green leafy vegetables.

  • Flavanoids and Polyphenols are found in purple grapes, pomegranates, cranberries, tea and whole grains.

  • Lycopene is mainly found in tomatoes and watermelon.