Your body needs antioxidant to protect healthy cells against the assaults of harmful chemicals known as free radicals. These free radicals are highly reactive, with the potential to damage cells and cause a number of diseases including cancer. They are naturally formed in the body, but some environmental toxins may also contain them or may stimulate the cells to produce more of them. To prevent free radicals from damaging your cells, you need antioxidants.
Antioxidants neutralize free radicals by giving them the missing electrons they need. They are also naturally produced by our body (endogenous antioxidants), but these are not often enough to combat the hundreds of toxins, pollutants and all other harmful chemicals that attack our cells every day. This is why we need exogenous or dietary antioxidants from fruits, vegetables, supplements and the like to prevent free radicals from causing damage. The following are some foods you should include in your diet to raise your body’s defenses against these disease-causing free radicals.
As it turns out, garlic is more than just a delicious flavoring for any dish. This everyday ingredient is also a natural anti-bacterial, capable of killing some strains of harmful microorganisms. In addition, it is also a good source of exogenous antioxidant. It contains allyl cysteine, alliin, allicin, and allyl disulfide, which help protect the cells against free radical damage.
Did you ever wonder why coronary heart disease-related deaths are low in France despite the French’s high saturated fat intake? Researchers found that red wine consumption counteracts the untoward effects of saturated fats because grapes contain high amount of antioxidant. Whether they are red, purple or blue, grapes are loaded phytochemicals that are important for eye health and may help combat cancer and heart disease.
A research conducted by Dr. James Joseph, a lead scientist at the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, showed that daily consumption of blueberries (even at modest amount) can slow down memory loss and motor coordination impairment – two conditions that often accompany aging. Separate studies in Europe also showed that the fruit can also lower blood cholesterol, promote urinary health, reduce risk to cardiovascular disease, and suppress the growth of some types of cancer cells.
DARK GREEN VEGETABLES
Dark green vegetables are excellent source of carotenoids, calcium, fiber, folate, iron, vitamin C and K, and many other nutrients. They also contain compounds that can inhibit the growth of certain types of cancer cells. Arugula, brocolli, cauliflower, collard greens, chicory, kale, lettuce, spinach, and Swiss chard in particular contain chemicals known as glucosinates. These chemicals are broken down into active compounds that have shown anticancer effects in cells.