What is the secret to a long and healthy life? Medical science believes that leading an active lifestyle with plenty of outdoor activities and exercise, and eating responsibly can substantially increase our life expectancy. There are other factors, of course, like genetics, that also play a role.
Food is essential for our survival and eating right is important to keep away diseases. Eating in moderation is one way of ensuring good health, and eating the right kind of food is another.
We know deep-fried items, canned food and fizzy drinks, collectively known as junk food, are ‘bad’ food if consumed frequently. Is there anything good to counteract the bad food?
Our body molecules are made up of one or more atoms joined by chemical bonds. When a weak bond splits, molecules known as free radicals, which have lost an electron and become unstable, are produced. These free radicals attack other body cells in their bid to become stable again by stealing an electron, but end up damaging healthy cells of the body.
Free radicals are also formed from use of tobacco and through exposure to radiation, and are believed to cause heart disease and cancer.
So how do antioxidants protect us against free radicals? By contributing their own electron to the free radicals to make them stable and thus help prevent tissue damage caused by free radicals. Remember, this theory is yet to be proved through clinical trials and other scientific tests. But consuming food with antioxidant properties is good for our immune system and if it can also protect us against free radicals which can only benefit our overall health.
There is a category of food items known as antioxidants which scientists believe may be termed as ‘superfoods’ for their ability to protect our cells from free radicals.
Let us see which food are good sources of antioxidants and food items containing them (Source: www.verywell.com/)
- Vitamin A: Milk and eggs.
- Vitamin C: Citrus fruits and tomatoes.
- Vitamin E: Almonds, sunflower oil, hazelnuts, peanuts, spinach, and broccoli.
- Beta-Carotene: Carrots, spinach, kale, cantaloupe, apricots, papaya, mango, and peas.
- Lutein: Green leafy vegetables and oranges.
- Lycopene: Red Tomatoes and watermelon.
- Selenium: Chicken, garlic, and brown rice.
These food items are not to be taken as vitamin supplements but to be made a part of your daily diet. For best results, though, physical exercise such as aerobics, brisk walk and Yoga for at least 30 minutes a day and 5-6 times a week is recommended.
Disclaimer: This is an overview of antioxidants and free radicals. Consult a dietician or a doctor for expert advice.