What are Antioxidants?
Antioxidant is another very freely used terms by promoters of wellness, nutritionists and healthy living. What do you really mean by antioxidants and why does our body need them. Lets start from the beginning. Oxygen is the prime ingredient for our body’s metabolism. It is this the process that changes food into the fuel for our body to continue living. While our food is digested with the help of oxygen it releases certain oxidized particles in the body which are also commonly known as free radicals. These free radicals are potentially dangerous and cause cellular damage that can lead to serious diseases like cancer, heart problems, aging etc.
Free radicals are not only created by regular metabolism of food in the system. Factors like pollution, smoking, over exposure to the sun, high cholesterol food further aggregation the production of the free radicals in our body.Therefore it becomes imperative to use enzymes that neutralize the effect caused by free radicals in our body. Antioxidants are the most powerful and effective molecules that help control and destroy these free radicals in the body. Our body naturally has tendency of producing antioxidants but with age, lower immunity system begins to diminish. Fortunately there are many natural resources of antioxidants available in the form of vitamins and minerals. Fruits, nuts, spices and vegetables are the best and most easily available resources. You can reduce free radicals in your body by adding these food groups to your diet.
Here is a list of some food Sources rich in antioxidants
Zinc – Nuts, chicken, beans like kidney beans, chickpea, cashew nut, oats, seafood (mildly)
Selenium – Nuts, chicken, fish, wheat flour,
Phytoestrogens – Soya, flax seeds, nuts,
Probiotic – Yogurt
Spices: Turmeric, cinnamon
Flaxseed and Its Health Benefits
The tiny seeds add not much of calories to the body and are low in carbohydrates but are full of vitamins, minerals, essential omega fatty acids and antioxidants that keep many health problems away keeping you healthy.
You could include flax seed in your diet on cereals and salads and include it in yogurt and shakes. You could eat it directly or eat in combination.
Flaxseeds contain health fighting properties and is beneficial for weight loss. Below are health benefits of flaxseed.
- Cardio-protective: Due to presence of high content of alpha linolenic acids (ALA) a type of plant-derived omega-3 fatty acid, flax seed is known to have cardio-protective benefits Flax seeds aid in lowering total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol levels and may also keep platelets from becoming sticky therefore reducing the risk of a heart attack.
- Controls Blood Glucose Levels: Fiber present in flax seed helps stabilize blood sugar. A recent study demonstrated Lowering of blood sugar levels by 28% an hour after eating flax seed.
- Cancer Fighting: Flaxseeds are high in lignans, (a phytoestrogen) and in alpha linolenic acid (ALA) which are found to be promising as a cancer fighting agent. Flax seed’s high fiber aspect is also beneficial in the fighting against colon cancer. Lignan metabolites can bind to estrogen receptors, hence inhibiting the onset of estrogen-stimulated breast cancer Lignans are known to promote fertility, reduce peri-menopausal symptoms, and possibly help prevent breast cancer.
- Prevents Constipation: Flax is high in both soluble and insoluble fiber. Flaxseed promotes regular bowel movements and helps to absorb water, thereby softening the stool and allowing it to pass through the colon quickly.
- Boost Immunity: A study in Nutrition Journal stated that eating flax daily favorably affects immunity, the body’s ability to defend itself successfully against micro-organisms. Lignans and ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), affect immune cells and compounds that control immune reaction.
- Mood-Enhancer: Flaxseed has a mood boosting ingredient: docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) which is essential for the proper function of brain cells. Flax seed decreases risk of Alzheimer’s due to presence of Omege-3 fatty acids.— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo