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Antioxidants: Benefits

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Wellscience Health Pvt Ltd

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Within the human body, millions of processes are occurring at all times. These processes require oxygen. Unfortunately, that same life giving oxygen can create harmful side effects, or oxidant substances, which cause cell damage and lead to chronic disease.

Oxidants, commonly known as "free radicals," can also be introduced through external sources such as exposure to the sun or pollution and other mediums being stress, alcohol intake, consumption of junk food and other unhealthy practices.

Free radicals are like gang of hooligans which roam around freely in the body colliding with organs and tissues causing oxidative damage and abrasions all over. They have no specific function to perform and hence act like devils. They cause inflammation which is found to be the primary cause of all the diseases.

To fight with these free radicals, our body requires antioxidants. Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) is a method of measuring antioxidant capacities. Scientists from Auburn University, USA recommend that individual need as much as 3000-5000 Orac Units per day to combat oxidative stress. The World Health Organization recommends a daily intake of 5 uniquely different fruits and vegetables per day to ensure that the antioxidant requirements are met.

Antioxidant agents are found in foods, such as dark green leafy vegetables. Items high in vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene are believed to be the most beneficial. They are also found in fruits and vegetables, those with the strongest colors being healthiest. Orange and red peppers, tomatoes, spinach, and carrots are examples.

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I am a nutritionist and am totally in agreement with the above post. I try to eat dark-coloured fruit every day which, in summer, is easy. I buy a lot of blueberries (probably not available in India), cherries, blackcurrants, raspberries, blackberries and loganberries. I don't eat strawberries unless they have been grown organically as these are one of the most highly-sprayed (toxic) fruits. I try to find dark-leaved lettuces, dark green broccoli and any and all vegetables of the brassica family.

There is nothing wrong in choosing to eat tinned or frozen fruit and veg. The freezing process is so quick these days that all the nutrients are still intact and it is only prolonged cooking that gradually destroys nutrient content. Cook your veg for as little time as possible. It is always best to eat raw fruit and veg so that you get full benefit from the active enzymes they contain which are also destroyed in the cooking process. It is only when I stay with others that I realize how carefully and well I eat paying full attention to best quality food and knowing that I must chew each mouthful well in order to start enzyme production in the mouth which also continues in the intestines. If anyone has any questions please ask me :-)

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Hi, As you correctly mentioned - the dark colored fruits has the highest amount of Antioxidants, in the same regards I would like to share some numbers on Antioxidants:

Fruits Antioxidants Value - ORAC units per 100 gms

Prunes 5570

Raisin 2830

Blueberries 2400

Blackberries 2036

Strawberries 1540

Raspberries 1220

Plums 949

Oranges 750

Red Grapes 739

Cherries 670

Kiwi Fruit 602

Grapefruits 483

Antioxidant is one of today's buzz words, fused into the vocabulary of the health-conscious diner and quality California prunes comes out way ahead of the rest of the field.Dried plums as in prunes contain many nutrients and non-nutritive substances known as phytochemicals, some of which function as antioxidants and contribute to health.

You would be glad to know that now California prunes are readily available in India. Also Indian nutritionists highly recommend to consume them as a mid morning / mid evening snacks and also to add to the regular recipes.

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