Antioxidants In Vegetables: Protect From Free Radicals
We are constantly being told to include as many servings of vegetables as possible in our diet to achieve a balanced diet. So what’s so important about striking the right balance? Well for starters a healthy diet with antioxidant rich vegetables could save your life. We are what we eat and to be healthy.
Research increasingly points to antioxidant vegetables to prevent a range of degenerative diseases and repair cell damage. It is inevitable that our bodies undergo considerable cell damage due to the excessive amounts of pollution we are exposed to in our everyday life. So to undo this damage it is important to consume an adequate amount of antioxidant vegetables.
Vegetables That Will Do You Good
New research suggests that not all foods have equal amounts of antioxidants. Some antioxidant vegetables have a higher content of antioxidants than others. Cooking vegetables can also influence the amount of antioxidants found in them. Cooking tomatoes actually increases the amount of antioxidants. Other vegetables such as potatoes however decrease in antioxidants after cooking.
The rule of thumb however is that the redder the fruit is the richer it is in antioxidants. Fruits that are bright coloured usually have high antioxidant properties. So include carrots, apples, oranges and tomatoes on your list of antioxidant rich vegetables.
There are other antioxidant rich vegetables that do not follow this rule. Spinach, artichoke hearts, eggplants, and russet potatoes are also vegetables that are rich in antioxidants. Beans are also a surprisingly rich source of antioxidants. All sorts of beans such as red, pinto, kidney, and black beans pack a powerful antioxidant punch.
Cook The Right Way
As mentioned earlier cooking greatly influences the amount of antioxidants found in vegetables. Besides tomatoes, there are also other vegetables that increase in antioxidants after cooking. Yellow onions, red cabbage and broccoli all increase in antioxidants after cooking. It appears that baking and steaming are the best ways to go about cooking these vegetables. And just as with any other vegetables, overcooking antioxidant rich vegetables will destroy any benefits you may get from the vegetables.
Mix It Up
There are of course other vegetables and even fruits that are rich in antioxidants, blueberries for example are full of antioxidants. The idea is to include as many of these fruits and vegetables in your diet and if possible to combine the vegetables in a meal. It is ideal to have as many antioxidant rich vegetables as possible every time you sit down to eat. This is because the body does not absorb all antioxidants as well as it might others. So the idea behind mixing up what you eat is that you will be able to get the maximum amount of antioxidants.