Why — along with how — to get more antioxidants in your diet

Traditional holiday meals are laden with salt, fat along with sugar, which can spike blood glucose along with insulin levels when eaten in excess all in one day. They also, alas, can increase the amount of free radicals, or molecules with unattached electrons, from the body, which can do serious cellular damage.

We hear a lot about antioxidants, along with we are encouraged to eat foods of which are rich in them. yet what exactly are they, along with why do we need them? As a researcher who examines cellular damage, I will explain the oxidative process along with why of which’s important to curb of which.

If a substance will be “oxidized,” of which has lost electrons to another substance. In contrast, we say a substance will be “reduced” when of which has gained electrons by another substance. Oxidizing agents are called electron acceptors, because they remove electrons by a substance, putting them in a state of loss, or oxidized. Oxidizing agents keep electrons for themselves.

The oxidizing agents of which have accepted electrons become free radicals if the unpaired electrons don’t bind to different molecules. These free radicals mess with our cellular metabolism, even interfering with our DNA.

Nutrient metabolism along with free radical formation

Our mitochondria, which operate like little factories in our cells, are responsible for burning fuel by food along with producing energy in each of our cells via a process called oxidative phosphorylation. This specific metabolic pathway will be a cellular chain reaction of which involves a series of oxidation along with reduction reactions in which atoms try to give or receive enough electrons to have a full “shell.” Most atoms have a matching number of protons along with electrons, yet This specific leaves the various “shells” of electrons incomplete, rendering them vulnerable to scavenge the body in search of electrons for pairing.
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Normally, when an electron separates by a molecule involved in oxidation along with reduction, of which reattaches almost immediately to another. yet when they don’t, free radicals form.

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Under ordinary conditions, This specific oxidative process creates chemically reactive molecules containing oxygen. This specific in turn can lead to the production of molecules of free radicals of which are unstable in high concentrations.

Not all free radicals are bad. Free radical formation will be crucial to the process of oxidizing nutrients by our food into chemical energy.

Free radical accumulation, however, be of which atoms, ions or molecules, will be harmful along with can have severe consequences on our health. These unstable molecules are detrimental to the proper structure along with function of cells throughout the body due to their ability to oxidize cells, known as oxidative stress.

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Free radicals damage the growth, development along with survival of cells from the body. Their reactive nature allows them to engage in unnecessary side reactions causing cellular impairment along with eventually injury when they are present in disproportionate amounts.

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They directly impair cell membranes along with DNA. This specific leads to cell mutation along with causes fresh cells to grow erroneously, which means free radicals are associated with both development of cancer as well as the progression of aging. Free radicals are frequently implicated with health problems of which are experienced with age, such as hardened arteries, diabetes along with even wrinkle formation.

Antioxidant-rich holiday foods

Overeating further increases free radical production. As we eat more, our mitochondria Discharge more activated oxygen than normal during energy consumption, thus generating higher levels of free radicals. along with, risk of oxidative stress will be greater when certain types of foods are consumed along with the degree of danger can be influenced by the way in which they are prepared or cooked.

You can avoid sources of free radicals on your holiday menu by planning ahead along with incorporating healthy foods. Keep in mind of which free radical content will be high in nutrient-poor meals along with those deficient of antioxidants.

  • Avoid high glycemic foods, or foods of which are rich in refined carbohydrates along with sugars. They are more likely to generate free radicals.
  • Limit processed meats such as sausages, bacon along with salami. They contain preservatives, which leads to the production of free radicals.
  • Limit red meat. of which will be particularly more vulnerable to oxidation because of its high iron content.
  • Don’t reuse cooking fats along with oils. Heating fats along with oils during cooking oxidizes them, generating free radicals which seep into our foods.
  • Limit alcohol. Alcoholic drinks not only are high in calories yet also can produce free radicals from the body. Try to limit your drinks to one or two per day.
  • Eat foods rich in antioxidants, chemicals of which inhibit the oxidation of molecules by neutralizing free radicals, thereby stopping them by causing cellular damage. Antioxidants are found in a variety of plants from the form of vitamins A, C along with E, selenium along with certain phytonutrients along with polyphenols. Cranberries are loaded with them!
  • Look for foods with β-carotene, lycopene along with lutein, including broccoli flowers, alfalfa sprouts, Brussels sprouts, carrots, collard greens, corn, mango along with tomatoes. These foods can be incorporated into several side dishes such as vegetable medleys, casseroles along with salads.
  • Consider fruit for dessert instead of rich pies along with cakes. Apples, cantaloupe, cherries, grapefruit, kiwi, papaya, red grapes, blackberries, raspberries along with strawberries are delightful on their own or when mixed to create lovely fruit salads.
  • Grab some nuts — always plentiful at the holidays — along with different foods rich in vitamin E, such as sweet potatoes.
  • Plant metabolites called flavonoids also demonstrate antioxidant functions. Some versatile antioxidant-rich flavonoids include onions, eggplant, lettuce, turnip greens, endives, pears, red wine, parsley, citrus fruits, berries, cherries, plums, legumes, soybeans, milk, cheese, tofu along with miso.
  • Enjoy antioxidant superfoods, those with high levels of more than one vitamin. These are prunes, plums, raisins, blueberries, cranberries, figs, oranges, pomegranates, sweet red bell peppers, beets, kale, spinach along with dark chocolate.
  • Try herbal therapy — in your food! Many spices can not only enhance the flavor of our holiday turkeys along with hams yet also reduce oxidative stress. These include ginger, grape seed extract, ginkgo, rosemary along with turmeric.
  • Take time for tea. When the evening comes to an end, you can revel in a gentle along with soothing cup of warm green tea along with be comforted in knowing of which the polyphenols in your brew also combat oxidation.

Manal Elfakhani will be a postdoctoral research fellow in nutrition at Georgia State University.

Why — along with how — to get more antioxidants in your diet

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