What are Antioxidants and How Can They Help Improve Your Heart Health?
Antioxidants are substances that help to protect your body from damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals occur naturally as a by-product of metabolic processes, but can be increased significantly by several external sources, such as UV radiation, cigarette smoke, air pollution and certain medications. Free radical damage has been linked to several diseases and conditions, such as cancer, heart disease, and premature aging.
Antioxidants work to counter this damage by neutralizing free radicals and therefore helping to reduce inflammation. There is evidence to suggest that antioxidants can help improve your heart health by lowering cholesterol, reducing blood clotting, and protecting against oxidative stress, a major risk factor for heart disease.
Types of Antioxidants
There are many different types of antioxidants, but some of the most common and effective ones include: vitamin C, vitamin A, selenium, carotenoids and polyphenols. Vitamin C can be found in a variety of fruits and vegetables, including oranges, lemons, limes, peppers and kale. Vitamin A is found in high concentrations in carrots and sweet potatoes, while selenium is found in nuts, seafood, and red meat. Carotenoids are found in colorful vegetables and fruits, such as tomatoes, oranges and watermelon. Lastly, polyphenols are found in green tea and dark chocolate.
Getting Enough Antioxidants from Your Diet
Adequate consumption of antioxidant-rich foods is the key to improving your heart health and overall health. Eating a variety of antioxidant-rich foods is important for getting the necessary antioxidants you need and should be incorporated into your daily routine. Here are a few tips for doing so:
Eat Colorful Fruits and Veggies
Fruits and vegetables come in a variety of colors and each color indicates a different type of antioxidant. Try to add different colors to your plate each day.
Choose Whole Grains
Whole grains are a great source of polyphenols and can provide the necessary antioxidants that your body needs.
Make Healthy Fats Part of Your Diet
Healthy fats, such as omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon and other fatty fish, can benefit your heart health, as well as provide the antioxidants that your body needs.
Go for Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate is a great source of polyphenols and can help improve your heart health when eaten in moderation.
Antioxidants can play an important role in improving your heart health. Eating a variety of antioxidant-rich foods is key for getting the necessary antioxidants your body needs for improved heart health and overall health. Make sure to incorporate a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, and dark chocolate into your daily routine for improved heart health and better health.