Maintaining a healthy diet can greatly influence our overall well being. Antioxidant-rich foods play an important role in keeping our bodies healthy and free from diseases, reducing our risk of getting chronic health issues and helping with our overall immune system. Antioxidants are natural substances found in various foods that can protect our body by taking up free radicals, or in other words neutralizing them to reduce their capacity to damage.
In this post, we will discuss how a healthy diet can influence our well being and what are the foods that are rich in antioxidants that we can include in our everyday diet along with the benefits they offer for your health.
How healthy diet can influence our well being?
A healthy diet can have a significant impact on our overall well being. We need nutrients for growth and repair, and to help us stay strong and healthy as well as provide energy to keep active throughout the day. A healthy diet can also provide our body with essential nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and fiber. These nutrients are important for a healthy immune system, proper digestion, and maintaining overall health.
However, the increase in processed foods production together with more hectic and stressful lifestyles have led to a shift in dietary patterns. People are now consuming foods with high fats and salt/sugar content which lacks wholegrain, fruits and vegetables. This will eventually lead to health problems such as diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure and other chronic conditions.
Although the exact make-up of a healthy diet will vary depending on the gender, lifestyle or physical activity of an individual, a healthy diet generally should include:
- Variety of fruits and vegetables
- Whole grains
- Fat-free or low fat dairy product
- Variety of protein such as seafood and lean meats and poultry
- Good unsaturated fats such as oily fishes, nuts and seeds
- Food that are rich in antioxidants
Antioxidants play a vital role in a healthy diet as our body uses antioxidants to fight free radicals to prevent them from damaging our body, that may lead to the development of various diseases. Although our body is able to produce certain antioxidants such as glutathione and CoQ10, these productions tend to decrease with age. Also, exposure to free radicals accumulated from poor diet, toxins, pollution, smoke etc will increase the damage and stress to body’s ability to defend itself.
What are foods that are high in antioxidant content?
The best way to get enough antioxidants is through a healthy diet that includes a mix of colorful fruits and vegetables. Here are 15 examples of foods that are rich in antioxidants and can easily incorporated into our diet:
Blueberries are one of the best sources of antioxidants. They are packed with anthocyanins, which are potent antioxidants that may help to reduce the risk factors for heart diseases.
Pecans are a good source of healthy fats and also contain high amounts of antioxidants.
Strawberries are packed with a high amount of vitamin C and other beneficial plant compounds that are good for our immune health.
Good quality dark chocolate contains antioxidants that can help to reduce risk of heart disease and reduce inflammation.
Artichokes are known for their nutrients and antioxidants that can help with cholesterol and improve gut health.
Avocado is high in vitamin E, an antioxidant that helps to protect our cells from damage and reduce inflammation.
Spinach is considered a good source of Lutein and Zeaxanthin, which are antioxidants that are known to protect our eyes.
Sweet potatoes or any other orange-coloured vegetables contain Vitamin A that is essential to support healthy vision.
Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, an antioxidant that has been linked to a reduced risk of various cancers.
Consuming green tea daily has been known to benefit our health due to the presence of polyphenols that can help with blood pressure and reduce risk of heart diseases.
Besides its rich content of omega-3 fatty acids, salmon is a great source of protein that is high in vitamins and minerals that have antioxidant properties and can help to reduce inflammation and protect our cells from damage.
Kidney beans contain high content of complex carbohydrates and dietary fibre which are needed to maintain a healthy cholesterol level. Manganese in kidney beans also aids the body's antioxidant defenses.
Turmeric contains curcumin, an antioxidant that can help to reduce inflammation and protect against chronic diseases.
Broccoli is rich in flavonoids and fibre that helps to reduce inflammation in our body tissues and support healthy digestion.
Walnuts are a good source of alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid that has antioxidant properties. It also contains Vitamin E that helps to reduce oxidation of LDL cholesterol.
Are supplements alone enough?
Health supplements can be helpful in certain situations, especially when there’s a deficiency of certain nutrients or if one has specific health conditions that require certain vitamins that is not obtainable from diet alone. Before embarking on taking supplements, do note that it is not a substitute for a healthy diet. It is best to have a healthy diet and complement with supplements when needed.
A healthy diet should consist not only of food rich in antioxidants, but a variety of whole, nutrient-dense foods containing a mixture of carbohydrates, proteins and healthy fats. Whole foods have benefits that supplements may not naturally provide. These foods provide a wide range of essential vitamins and minerals that are important for maintaining good health. Therefore, it is important to focus on a balanced and varied diet, rather than relying solely on supplements.
Overall, adding antioxidant-rich foods to your diet is great way to promote overall health and well being. These foods can help to protect our body against damage caused by free radicals and are also packed with important vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. A healthy diet that consists of a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains can improve our physical and mental well being and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
By incorporating a variety of antioxidant-rich foods into our diet, we can enhance our body's natural defenses and lead a happier, healthier life. Always seek help and advice from your healthcare professional if you are having any specific health concerns that require additional nutrient support.
- McCulloch, M. (2023, March 10). 13 proven health benefits of walnuts. Healthline. Retrieved April 4, 2023, from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/benefits-of-walnuts#TOC_TITLE_HDR_3
- World Health Organization. (n.d.). Healthy diet. World Health Organization. Retrieved April 3, 2023, from https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/healthy-diet