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
Corn has always been in news as the enemy of the dieters. Is it really as unhealthy as they speak of it to be? Let us understand what makes corn healthy or unhealthy and what is the best form to consume it in.
Corn can be eaten boiled, steamed or grilled and is highly nutritious in its natural form. It provides instant energy for the body as it is high in carbohydrates and its high amount of fiber provides a healthy digestive system. It is low in fat and it also tastes goods to eat it regularly alone or in combination of fruits, vegetables, cereals etc. It has anti-oxidation properties along with flavnoids, carotenes which helps it fight diseases and free radicals. Corn is rich in phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, zinc, copper, iron and selenium. Corn is a good source of vitamins B1, B5, C, and E, as well as phosphorus.
Though eating corn in its natural form is healthier than eating it in some of its other processed products like corn syrup, fructose which are alternate substitute for sugar.
Another popular way of eating corn is as breakfast cereal made by combining milled corn with sugar. The major ingredients include milled corn, sugar, iron, high fructose corn syrup and vitamins (A, B, C, D, and E). Cornflakes are high in glycemic index which quickly converts the sugar into energy which increases the blood sugar levels in the body and therefore not a healthy breakfast option, especially for those that need to control/manage their blood sugar.
Corn syrup is made from corn which is sweeter than sugar and is digested in our body in an unhealthy manner and is fattening in the body when consumed. This corn syrup is cheap in cost and sweeter so it is used in various commercial products like chewing gums, toffees, cadies, baked products, indian sweets, cheap tomato ketchup, sweetened soda’s and beverages and drinks. It is highly substitued for sugar and is often used in baked products to maintain the moisture and keeps products fresher for longer periods.
Consuming corn in its natural form is healthy but high fructose corn syrup used products don’t provide the same health benefits as corn kernals as its constitution and nutrition value changes. Read nutritional value to know the form of corn used as it can hamper your weight loss and have not so healthy benefits on the body.
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.
All of us eat vegetables in some form or the other. Maybe in salads, mixed veggies etc. Do you know about the benefits of the vegetables that you eat. Some of them are as common as cabbage, that are loaded with nutrition.