You must have heard several fitness experts and nutritionists talk about the importance of including ample antioxidants in your daily diet. While you may have nodded in agreement, how many of us really know what that means? Well, we will break it down for you. Antioxidants are compounds or substances that are found naturally in certain fruits and vegetables. They are extremely essential to the normal functioning of our body as they prevent the damage caused to cells by oxidants.
What are oxidants? They are free radicals produced by the body to fight foreign bodies like bacteria and viruses. However, if they exceed the healthy numbers, they can start harming the cells and cause adverse effects in the form of diseases like cancer. Antioxidants help in neutralising these oxidants and keeping them in check. One must always aim to maintain the balance between antioxidants and oxidants in the body. Hence, it is important to ensure that your diet is rich in antioxidants.
We bring you a list of antioxidant-rich foods that you may consider adding to your daily diet, this summer.
Love munching on raisins? Then you are in luck. If you want to give your body a quick dose of antioxidants, you can just pop a handful of soaked raisins in your mouth and you are good to go. According to Bangalore-based Nutritionist Dr. Anju Sood, "Soaking the raisins and consuming them every day is a healthier alternative as opposed to eating them raw. The vitamins and minerals present on the outer skin of the raisin get dissolved in the water. Thus the amount of nutrients that will be absorbed by the body increases and the antioxidant content too gets enhanced." But always remember, moderation is the key.
There is no diet that does not recommend this green vegetable. Broccoli, a healthy vegetable available year-round, is also set apart by the fact that it contains strong antioxidants such as carotenoids lutein, zeaxanthin and beta-carotene. You can steam broccoli and add it to your light summer meals like soups and salads.
3. Dark Chocolate:
Lovers of dark chocolate, rejoice. You are way better off than those who shun it. Dark chocolates pack a big antioxidant punch and are rich in flavonols and polyphenols. However, too much of anything is bad. So, keep your intake in check, or else you may end up adding those extra calories.
Several experts around the world recommend including nuts in our daily diet. A handful of the nuts a day can give you a healthy dose of antioxidants and other essential nutrients. They are loaded with an antioxidant called polyphenol and can be consumed guilt-free as they are low in sodium and have no cholesterol.
Be it summer or winter, rajma is a staple for many of us. It is delicious, wholesome and includes various healthy nutrients. In fact, all kinds of beans - black, pinto, red and kidney beans - brim with nutritional goodness and a rich source of antioxidants. Kidney beans are also high in fibre, low on the glycemic index and include no cholesterol. Besides rajma chawal, we also like adding it to our healthy and light salads and chatpata chaat.
Call it a fruit or vegetable, tomato is a must have in our year-round diet. The bright red colour of tomato comes from a phytochemical called lycopene, which is a proven antioxidant. Besides, tomato is packed with two other antioxidants - Vitamin C and Vitamin A - that help us get glowing skin and healthy gut during summers.
Now that you have this list, there is no real excuse to not incorporate antioxidants in your diet. Remember, there are no shortcut to health and no replacement for nutritious food.
Eat healthy, stay safe!