Antioxidant-rich foods with particular reference to plant-based fruit and vegetables are available to us in abundance in most parts of the world with some fantastic healing powers. They are also nature's protectors against heart disease, cancer, ageing as well as many other degenerative diseases.
There are hundreds of natural food compounds that act as antioxidants in your body. And the best thing about them is that you never have to run out of them because you can eat more. We are going to focus on the three most important ones, and they are Vitamin C, Vitamin E and Beta-Carotene. There's no doubt that these three antioxidants play a crucial role in our well being.
Vitamin C, a water-soluble vitamin, occurs widely in fruits and vegetables. While some warm-blooded animals can synthesize it, we humans have lost the ability and now depend on getting Vitamin C from the food we eat.
Raw Baby Spinach
Potatoes done with their skins
Corn on the Cob
While I've listed all the fruits and vegetables I know ranging from excellent to very poor in terms of their vitamin C content, the ones appearing at the bottom of the scale are by no means terrible food choices. They are all nutritional plant-based foods containing other vital vitamins and minerals needed to supply optimum health. So keep on eating as much fresh fruit and vegetables as you can. Your good health will thank you for it, especially later in life.
Peanuts and Raisins
Beta Carotene from plants turns into vitamin A by your body (also known as pro-vitamin A) is essential in strengthening your immunity as well as preventing night-blindness. This vital nutrient also forms part of most anti-cancer and anti-ageing regimes. As a biological antioxidant, it's critical for many of your body functions, and it's also an excellent internal protector against sunburn. Plant-based foods that contain beta carotene do not pose any toxicity problems because your body only converts the carotene it needs into vitamin A and readily disposes of the excess.
Carotenes are water-soluble and rapidly disperse from your body. They need to ingested regularly to ensure a decent blood level of active vitamin A. Excessive amounts of beta carotene in your diet can only be achieved by artificially supplementing with pure beta carotene. It will also lead to the colouration of your body fat and give your skin a yellow-brown tint. It will undoubtedly be a popular supplement should you want to tan without actually going into the sun.
While beta carotene is the best nutritional form of pro-vitamin A, there are over 600 substances known as carotenoids, all of which are potential biological antioxidants. Carotenoids that have significant antioxidant power are in foods such as carrots (alpha-carotene), oranges and tangerines (beta-cryptoxanthin), tomatoes (lycopene), spinach and broccoli (lutein and zeaxanthin). They're also widely distributed in nature (canthaxanthin).
Some of the vegetables that contain vitamin A as carotene are carrots (young and old), peppers, spinach, kale, tomatoes, spring onions, broccoli, cabbage, cucumber, cauliflower, turnips, sweet potatoes, mushrooms and radish. These are just a few of a vast range of vegetables containing beta carotene. There are many other vegetables too.
Some of the fruits that contain vitamin A as carotene are mango, cantaloupe melons, apricots, plums, papaya, guava, clementines, peaches, nectarines, kiwi fruit, oranges, bananas, pears, pineapple, grapefruit, watermelon and strawberries to name but a few. Again, there are many more fruits that contain vitamin A as carotene.
You'll also find vitamin A as carotene in some herbs and spices too such as fresh parsley, dried sage, dried rosemary, dried thyme, paprika and chilli powder.
Please take note that the information on this site is designed for educational purposes and is intended solely for a general readership. The contents herein are not intended to offer any personal medical advice or to diagnose any health issues you may have. This information is also by no means a substitute for medical care by a licensed healthcare provider. For that, you'd need to consult your medical doctor or a health care practitioner for any advice should you require prescription medication.