Anti-aging: Top five antioxidant food sources





 

(NaturalNews) -- Cells need oxygen to metabolize minerals and vitamins to survive and thrive. When cells cannot use oxygen to metabolize, they resort to fermenting glucose for their energy.

That's what cancer cells are about. That's why anything that oxygenates cells works to cure cancer, and that's why cancer patients should avoid sugar.

The paradox of cellular oxidation is that incompletely utilized oxygen can cause cellular damage. What happens is oxygen molecules can form free radicals when interacting with certain problematic molecules, such as heavy metals and toxins.

Free radicals are atoms or groups of atoms with unpaired or odd numbers of electrons that become reactive trouble makers, causing cellular and DNA damage.

This sudden rush of free radicals can start a chain reaction of damage to healthy cells causing them to function poorly or even die. A chain reaction of cellular oxidative stress in a particular organ can cause that organ to not function properly or become cancerous.

Fortunately, the body comes equipped with an antioxidant defense system. Antioxidants are molecules that can safely interact with free radicals and stop the chain reaction from continuing or even starting. There are many enzymes that can be part of an antioxidant defense system.

But when too many of those problematic molecules from our toxic environment overwhelm our naturally existing antioxidants, oxidative stress chain reactions will break through the overwhelmed antioxidant defense system.

Many of those protective free radical scavenging enzymes depend on support from micronutrient minerals such as selenium and vitamins E, C, and beta-carotene. Those nutrients are not manufactured by the body, so they must be supplied by food and/or supplements.

The fact that we live in a toxic environment requires more antioxidants now than over a century ago. If you exercise regularly, you do increase the potential for oxidative stress, making consumption of antioxidants even more important.

ORAC daily consumption up to 50,000 units is recommended if you're physically active.

The level of antioxidant capacity in a food is measured as Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC). ORAC values are measured per 100 grams of weight, or 3.5 ounces. Here are five high ORAC food types, which are best eaten fresh from organic sources.

Fruits and Berries: The Himalayan goji berry and tropical Acai berries rank highest with ORAC ratings of 25,000 and 18,000 units respectively. Blueberries, blackberries, cranberries, raspberries, pomegranates, and strawberries have high ORAC ratings.

Almost any berry will provide a good amount of antioxidants. Cherries and apples are top ORAC providers also. Deeper colors indicate richer antioxidant bioflavonoid content.

Dried fruits rank high as well. Raisins (dried grapes) come in with a 10,000 unit ORAC rating with prunes close behind at 8,000.

Vegetables: Cooked veggies that have greens leading, especially spinach, kale, and broccoli. Artichokes have the highest ORAC rating, between 9,000 and 10,000. A surprise entry is the Russet potato.

Legumes: Black beans and kidney beans have the highest ORAC ratings. It's best to buy them dry from bulk organic bins, soak them overnight and cook the next day. Legumes also provide a good deal of fiber to help your digestion.

Nuts and grains: Pecans have the highest ORAC rating at 18,000, with walnuts and almonds following. Steel cut oats are high in antioxidants along with quinoa and whole grains.

Miscellaneous: Chocolate and coffee lovers rejoice, they are both high ORAC foods. Chocolate should be unprocessed, dark and high in cacao content. Cacao, the basis of chocolate, has an ORAC rating over 50,000 per 100 grams. Coffee is between 15,000 and 18,000 ORAC units .

The master internal antioxidant glutathione recycles and rejuvenates most antioxidants.

 
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