Antioxidants that remove free radicals, which are the main cause of aging, are plentiful in fruits and vegetables. That’s why a well-balanced diet will not only help one lose weight, but also help one live longer and feel better.

Still looking for the indescribable fountain of youth? Forget it. The powerful agents for antiaging come in the natural way, in fruits and vegetables.

As you may all know by now, aging means oxidation in cells. Oxidation literally means burning down (just like in a way oxygen causes fire). So, in order to reverse this process we basically need to cool down the fire by antioxidants.

Especially some fruits and vegetables are high in flavonoids and carotenoids, which are the powerful plant based antioxidants. These substances as antioxidants help to remove free radicals that cause oxidative damage to the cells.

A free radical is any atom or molecule that has a single unpaired electron in an outer shell. For most biological structures, including humans, free radical damage is closely associated with oxidative damage. Antioxidants are diminishing agents, and they limit oxidative damage cells by theoretically passivizing free radicals into non-reactive substances.

The theory of ¨aging is caused by free radicals¨ was conceived by Denham Harman in the 1950s. Dr.Harman’s predominant scientific opinion was that free radicals were too unstable to exist in biological systems. In the following years, theory behind the free radicals was expanded to include not only aging outcomes, but also age-related diseases. There has been a lot of research done that has linked free radical damage within cells to a variety of diseases including cancer, arthritis, vascular heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes.

According to the free radical theory of aging, it is hypothesized that antioxidants will slow the process of aging by either preventing free radicals to burn (oxidizing) cells or reducing the formation of free radicals.

When ever you hear about and antioxidant molecule or it is cited somewhere where it explains how it is helpful in anti-aging, just like in this article, those are mostly the chemicals found in many fruits and veggies. Jut to let you know, if we as doctors advice on eating such fruits and veggies, we are trying to say that you should add these to your daily diet in regular amounts. Especially, I do not advocate on eating or consuming large amounts of these or even their supplements just because that they have great properties, keeping your portions right is much smarter approach.

Go ahead and just change your plate with these healthy foods. Do not forget that, some research shows that antioxidant therapy have no effect and can even increase mortality.

This is why I do not advocate unlimited number/ size of portions or supplements, but I do advocate that a well balanced diet will not only help you lose weight, in turn it will help you live longer and feel better! Lets go ahead and look at these super foods! List is normally very long, these are my selections for the day. You may also find the rest from my previous articles.

Tomatoes

They have lycopene, a special antioxidant, which helps preventing heart disease, elevated cholesterol and cancer. Their effect increases to its maximum when they are cooked. Additionally, lycopene is a natural sun-blocking agent; it prevents UV rays, which causes sunspots.

Cucumbers

From cartoons to movies, from childhood to now, we all know that cucumbers have something to do with your facial skin and probably it is related to beauty.

This is the word that was spread, and I don’t know how long ago! The abundant silica and antioxidants in cucumber helps reduce wrinkles, dark circles, and boost collagen. It can be used as a tonic to fade freckles and tighten open pores.

Fennel

This Mediterranean anti-inflammatory herb may help reducing your cholesterol levels. It may in fact also relieve constipation.

Kale and Brussels Sprouts

Kale and Brussels sprouts are rich in vitamin C. The vitamin C content will help build collagen, increase the elasticity of your skin, and fight with free radicals. Kale is anti-inflammatory as well, it will protect your body from chronic inflammation that may even cause cancer! Kale helps you to loose weight, reduces cholesterol, and the list goes on…

Lettuce

Lettuce is a leafy green vegetable, almost a fixture in every salad recipe. Lettuce is high in vitamin A, which especially helps in revitalizing skin.

Vitamin A’s effect on skin is really a kind of treatment actually; it causes increment in cell turnover and encourages new skin formation. If you are asking which to buy; romaine or iceberg, I’d go for romaine. Nutritional data shows that romaine lettuce has twice the protein, three times the vitamin K, eight times the vitamin C, and seventeen times and the vitamin A when compared with iceberg lettuce.

Spinach

Just like all other leafy greens, especially darker ones, spinach is a great source of vitamin C. Your collagen and overlying skin literally needs vitamin C as its fuel.

Its not well known but spinach also has effect in skin care. It helps in sebum production, which is also called the natural conditioner. By this, spinach gives a quick relief from dry and itchy skin.

Wheat germ

Wheat germ is packed with important B vitamins including folic acid, vitamin B1 (thiamin) and vitamin B6. It is also rich in zinc, which plays a crucial role in our immune system and in the new skin cell formation.

Besides zinc it also contains loads of minerals, including iron, magnesium, calcium, selenium and manganese.

With all the load of minerals and vitamins it acts as an anti-inflammatory agent as well. It is shown by recent literature that wheat germ helps prevent eczema and reduce acne.

Beans

All legumes including, beans and lentils are the best sources of lean vegetarian protein. Legumes are made up of high quality complex carbohydrates that are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fibers. Soluble fiber keeps you fuller for a longer time, folic acid may improve your mood and memory, and migraine is effective in controlling migraine and hypertension attacks. Vitamin B6 will additionally protect against age related memory loss.

Cranberry

This fruit or its juice interrupts plaque format ion and in turn prevents teeth discoloration. The antioxidant flavonoids in cranberry may additionally neutralize the damaging effects of tooth decay causing bacteria. Cranberries contain citric acid that prevents kidney stone formation. They literally treat urinary tract infections by the proanthocyanidins. Research has shown that cranberry might also prevent metastasis of breast cancer cells. Additionally, several animal based researches have linked cranberries in prevention of colon, prostate and lung cancers.

Blood Oranges

Unlike other citrus fruits, blood oranges contain the reddish flavonoid pigment called anthocyanins that give blueberries and cranberries their intense color and antioxidant properties. These anthocyanins increase free radical absorbing capacity of cells, and additionally they directly reduce free radicals. It is believed that anthocyanins are more powerful antioxidants than vitamin E.

Pomegranate Seeds

The juice of pomegranate seeds is very rich in ellagic acid and punic alagin. These two agents are highly potent scavengers of free radicals. They fight damage from free radicals and preserve the collagen in the skin. Pomegranate is the called the super food, and this red fruit has been shown to almost cure just about any illness. From stomach upsets to menopausal hot flashes, from lowering blood pressure to stimulating the immune system, or from reducing risk of heart disease to lowering cholesterol levels.

Literature from Chinese herbology cites pomegranate juice as the fountain of youth and source of longevity. Basically pomegranates will keep you young!

DailySabah.com

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