Top seven anti-oxidant vegetables

One of our recent articles focused on the top seven antioxidant fruits, namely; berries, grapes, apples, watermelons, mangoes, tomatoes and bananas.

We are reminded that antioxidants are substances that can protect our cells against the effects of free radicals.

Free radicals as you recall are molecules produced when our bodies’ break down food, or by environmental exposures like tobacco smoke and radiation. And when these free radicals damage our cells; heart disease, cancer and other degenerative diseases are the result.

It is important to remember that antioxidant foods help reverse or better yet, prevent the above adverse effect in the human body.

Vegetables are also blessed with many powerful antioxidants. The following are considered to be among the top seven vegetables that contain essential antioxidants that are able to fight against many of the degenerative diseases of today.

1. Carrots:  The carrot is one of the major sources of beta-carotine (pro-vitamin A). The beta-carotine is converted into vitamin A in our body and acts as a potent antioxidant. Vitamin A prevents damage of the white blood cells that are involved in fighting against various infections.

Adequate levels of such antioxidants in our body also help us to prevent a multitude of disorders including diabetes, hypertension, heart disorders and cancer. Carrots also contain many other bioactive substances known as polyphenols, lutein and lycopene which have powerful antioxidant ability.

2. Celery: Celery is also loaded with a number of bioactive substances called flaviniods.  Among these flavinoids, luteolin is the most common and widely found in celery. This is known to have a variety of properties including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and anti cancer effects.

Concerning the anti cancer property, luteolin effectively inhibits the formation of new blood vessels and thereby limit the progression of the cancer cells. They are also known to induce cell death in the cancerous cells and prevent the occurrence of cancers.

Furthermore, it has also been noted that celery accentuates the effects of anti-cancer medications and helps to healcancers at a faster pace. Finally, studies also show that celery leaves are comprised of about 41-57% antioxidants.

Do make sure you get a couple stalks of celery everyday.

3. Spinach: Spinach is another powerful vegetable that has high antioxidant levels that are noted to benefit a wide number of conditions, including heart disorder. Spinach contains flavonoids in particular, which are beneficial in reducing cholesterol and thus protect the heart. Consumption of spinach is also considered a safe and effective way to alleviate the toxic side effects of the anti-cancer drugs.

4. Beets: Beets apart from having many vitamins and minerals also contain the many antioxidants and phytochemicals such as carotenoid, beta-carotene, and vitamin A that make this vegetable an excellent food choice and anti-cancer agent.

Beets are  rich in anthocyanins, the pigment that makes the root red, and is responsible for the repair and protection of DNA in the body.

5. Onions: Onion contains many antioxidants such as polyphenols, flavonoids that are more concentrated in the outer layers of the flesh. To maximize your health benefits, peel off as little of the fleshy, edible portion as possible when removing the onion’s outermost paper layer. Even a small amount of “overpeeling” can result in unwanted loss of flavonoids. For example, a red onion can lose about 20% of its quercetin and almost 75% of its anthocyanins if it is “overpeeled.

6. Garlic: Closely related to onions are the garlic family, Allium sativu. Many of the health benefits of garlic that have been studied come from garlic’s abundant antioxidant nutrients. Garlic contains dozens of bioflavoinoid more than 80 sulfur-containing compounds.

Because garlic is rich in selenium, it helps to boost the effectiveness of these network of antioxidants — vitamin C, vitamin E, glutathione, lipoic acid and coenzyme Q-10.

7. Eggplants: Though most people are not so familiar with eggplants and how to prepare them as a meal, they are certainly in those top food group that contain potent antioxidants.

The main antioxidant in egg plants are nasunins which help counteract damage to your cells that occurs when you are exposed to environmental toxins, such as pollution and smoke, which can lead to health conditions like cancer and heart disease.

These antioxidants are also responsible for the purple coloration of the skin. Hence it is advised to eat the whole plant, including the skin.

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