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
Benefits of Seasonal Fruits
Eat a fruit every time you have a growling stomach. Its the healthiest substitute for a snack as it is packed with nutrition and can actually boost your metabolism. There are variety of fruits present through out the year offering loads of nutrition packed in different flavors. Binging on fruits is specially helpful when you are trying to lose weight or are on a weight loss diet. Seasonal fruits then become an ideal in-between meal snacks. Fruits contain phyto-chemicals and antioxidants help fight free radicals and diseases in the body.
Regular consumption of fruits promote healthy heart health reducing the chances of cardiac problems, lower blood pressure and keeps cholesterol in check. The vitamins and mineral quality of fruits can’t be replaced with supplements as it is a natural source and gets absorbed by the body easily. Summers offer a range of fruits which are full of taste, colour and nutrition. Add 1-2 fruits in your diet and experience the change.
Some Summer Seasonal Fruits
Water Melon: Eating 100 gms would add just 20 calories to your diet. Though it is sweet but the high amount of water and fiber lessen the calories present in it. It is refreshing and reduces body temperature, blood pressure, inflammation and many other health conditions. It has the highest concentration of lycopene, a powerful antioxidant which improves heart health. It contains vitamin, A,C and B and minerals like potassium, calcium and is fat free. Enjoy its juice or eat raw in salads.
Mangoes: 65 calories is what it provides for 100 gms. You could eat a small sized mango before a workout as it is high is carbohydrates but with a low glycemic index. vitamin A (beta-carotene), vitamin E, vitamin C and selenium along with phenolic compounds are present in mangoes. It is rich in minerals and has high anti-oxidation and anti-inflammatory properties. Check the portion control while eating mangoes for weight loss.
Plum: 52 calories Potassium, magnesium, calcium and phosphorous are minerals present in plum along with Vitamin A, E and c. It provides 55-60 calories per 100 gms though consume 2 fruits. It is high in fiber and boost immunity and protects against cancer. It is a healthy fruits.
Jamun/Jambul: High in vitamins and minerals like iron, manganese, zinc, calcium, sodium and potassium. It contains antioxidants like Tannic acid, Gallic acid and oxalic acids along with alkonoids. It is beneficial for diabetics and eating 100 gms adds 60 calories approx.
Musk Melon: Eating a cup of muskmelon will add 50-55 calories with lots of fiber and carbs for energy. It is rich in vitamin A, B and C along with potassium, magnesium and sodium. Improves constipation problem. It has anti-oxidation properties and improves metabolism.— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo