Antioxidants are natural substances found in food that prevent or reduce cell damage from harmful free radicals. When the oxidation process alters chemicals in your body, it creates free radicals – damaged cells that may cause a toxic chain reaction among other cells over time. Most of the healthy foods we include in our diets – fruits, vegetables, seeds and some dairy products – contain antioxidants. Even beans, sweet and Russet potatoes, canola oil, dark chocolate and even red wine have antioxidants. Most foods containing antioxidants are low in calories and high in nutrition, and you’ll find them on the plates of dieters and health enthusiasts alike. But why are antioxidants good for weight loss?
Some Facts about Antioxidants Good for Weight Loss
Your body naturally produces some antioxidants, but you get most of them from food. Fruits and vegetables high in Vitamin C, such as oranges, apples, kiwi, broccoli, kale and cherries, are the most obvious source of antioxidants. Any food rich in selenium, Vitamin A, beta-carotene, Vitamin E or lutein contains antioxidants. Antioxidants are found in eggs, cheese, milk, and some seeds and nuts.
If you can’t get enough antioxidants from your diet, supplements can help. It’s important not to depend on supplements for antioxidants. Taking too much Vitamin E, selenium or Vitamin A can be harmful, so talk to your doctor adding supplements to your daily routine.
Phytonutrients and Carotenoids – Super- Antioxidants in Fruits and Veggies
Your body manufactures a limited amount of antioxidants to fight off free radicals.
Our bodies produce some antioxidants to fight off the free radicals formed by normal chemical processes, but we get most of our antioxidants by eating a healthy diet. Examples of antioxidant-rich foods include fruits and vegetables that are high in nutrients such as vitamins A, C and E, beta-carotene, lutein, lycopene and selenium.
Lycopene – a phytonutrient found in watermelon, tomatoes, red grapefruit, strawberries and other red-pigmented fruits and vegetables, lycopene prevents DNA damage to cells. If you have a high amount of lycopene in your fatty tissues and blood, you’ll reduce your chance of heart disease and cancer. It protects the skin from damage due to UV rays, and is often used as an ingredient in anti-aging creams. The body doesn’t produce lycopene, it is only available from food.
Lutein –a carotenoid found in squash, broccoli, zucchini, orange juice, kale, corn, and other fruits and vegetables, lutein is commonly called the “eye vitamin”. When consumed as part of a balanced diet, it helps prevent age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. Lutein is a color pigment in the retina and macula of the human eye, and provides protection against damage from sunlight.
Beta-carotene – the reddish-orange pigment found in carrots and sweet potatoes, it’s a prime source of Vitamin A. An antioxidant like other carotenoids, it may slow down cognitive decline, according to a study by the Harvard Medical School. Antioxidants in general may help people retain good focus and critical thinking skills as they age. Other food sources of beta-carotene include kale, spinach, peas, butternut squash and cantaloupe.
Selenium activates glutathione peroxidases, enzymes in the body that guard against oxidative stress (free radicals). Enzymes containing selenium help recycle Vitamin C from its dormant to active form, which results in stronger antioxidant properties. Eating a diet with selenium-rich foods ensures proper thyroid function. Researchers have noted that thyroid problems occur after only two months of a low-selenium diet. You can find selenium in tuna, sardines, shrimp, salmon, beef, chicken, Brazil nuts and turkey. Eating small portions of seafood, poultry or beef will provide you with protein, Omega 3s and other nutrients, plus antioxidants.
Why are Antioxidants Good for Weight Loss?
We know that antioxidants prevent free radical damage and guard against inflammation that can cause diseases such as cancer. Although free radicals are produced naturally in the body, they are unstable molecules that can get out of control and wreck havoc on your health. Smoking, air pollution, eating foods with chemicals and preservatives, exposure to radiation and using toxic products on your skin will increase the amount of free radicals in your system.
A study in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry indicated that antioxidants reacted with cells in mice to stop triglyceride production.1Triglycerides lead to heart diseases, but they are also common in people who are overweight or obese. Eating a diet rich in antioxidant foods will keep you healthier and may even help you lose weight.
Antioxidant- Rich Foods to Help You Lose Weight
Fruits, vegetables and legumes are the greatest source of antioxidants, with red beans, wild blueberries, pinto beans, cranberries and artichoke hearts leading the list. Most of the foods with antioxidants good for weight loss are already included in most people’s diets to some extent. You may want to increase your consumption of these foods to lose weight.
Vegetables with Antioxidants Good for Weight Loss
Vegetables are full of water and fiber as well as antioxidants good for weight loss, so they fill you up longer than less nutritious foods. The fiber in veggies helps keep your blood sugar steady. When you include vegetables as part of your diet each day, you won’t feel that late afternoon energy slump. Eating vegetables on a regular basis helps prevent inflammation, which may lead to diabetes, heart disease and other chronic health problems. You can get more antioxidants from vegetables by adding scallions, broccoli or tomatoes to your morning omelet, having spinach salad for lunch, or half a bell pepper stuffed with turkey and topped with an avocado slice for dinner.
Buy Organic Fruits and Vegetables to Get More Antioxidants Good for Weight Loss
Some research shows that organically-grown fruits and vegetables have even more antioxidants than conventional produce. According to a recent article in U.S. News and World Report, you may get up to 40% more antioxidants by choosing organic produce over conventional fruits and vegetables. 2 And buying organic produce will eliminate problems caused by pesticides, since they’re grown in a chemical-free environment. Whether you buy organic or conventional produce, be sure to consume a variety of colors each day to get the full nutritional and weight loss power of vegetables. Eat green veggies (broccoli, spinach), orange (carrots, butternut squash) and red (red bell peppers, beets) , not just one vegetable type.
Fruits and Veggies (and Other Foods) with High or Moderate ORAC Ratings Contain Potent Antioxidants for Weight Loss
Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) is a lab test used to measure the antioxidant power, or total antioxidant capacity, of foods. A food sample is placed in a test tube, along with molecules that cause free radical activity. The test measures how well the food protects normal molecules from free radical damage. A food’s ORAC score is calculated based on a 100-gram serving, so cinnamon, clove and turmeric score high in the ORAC ratings due to the amount of food/spices used during the measurement process.
Red grapefruit –A red grapefruit contains 1,548 ORAC points, partly due to the antioxidant lycopene. It has the insoluble fiber pectin, which acts as a laxative, helping the digestive system do its job and shielding the colon’s mucous membrane from toxic substances. Half of a medium grapefruit has only 50 calories, and they are a great source of potassium, Vitamin A and Vitamin C. A 100 gram serving of grapefruit provides 52% of the daily recommended allowance of Vitamin C, 38% of the recommended daily allowance of Vitamin A and 135 mg of potassium.
Artichokes may not be one of the more popular vegetables in the produce section, but they have the highest ORAC rating of supermarket veggies at a whooping 7900 points. They provide more antioxidant power than broccoli, avocados, beet greens or asparagus, and contain phytochemicals that might lower cholesterol. These phytochemicals include quercetin (also found in apples), gallic acid and cynarin. The cynarin in globe artichokes helps the liver produce bile, which is essential for proper digestion. It also aids fat absorption in the small intestine. A 3.5 ounce serving of cooked artichoke hearts is only 47 calories and provides 34% of the daily value of fiber.
Watermelon isn’t just for picnics – incorporate this refreshing fruit into your daily diet. It’s rich in electrolytes and water, and one cup of diced watermelon is only 46 calories. Watermelon contains a significant amount of Vitamin C and Vitamin A, along with the antioxidant flavonoids lutein, lycopene and beta-carotene. Watermelon has an ORAC rating of 142 per 100 grams.
Dark Chocolate may not sound like a food with antioxidants good for weight loss, but it can be used as a snack in most diets without adding too many extra calories. (There are 155 calories in one ounce of dark chocolate). Dark chocolate has an ORAC rating of 6992. Natural cocoa powder has an even higher ORAC rating of 25,606. Eating a small amount of dark chocolate a day can also lower blood pressure. Be sure to choose dark chocolate, not milk chocolate or white chocolate, which contain few antioxidants or flavonoids and have more calories.3 (A milk chocolate candy bar has 235 calories; a cup of milk chocolate chips has 899 calories.)
Trade Soda and Fancy Coffee Drinks for Herb Tea to Lose Weight
Green tea, Earl Grey tea and ginger tea offer antioxidants good for weight loss, provided you don’t add excessive sugar or other sweeteners.
Earl Grey contains citrus extracts, which are excellent for weight loss, just like citrus fruits. Earl Grey is full of free radical-fighting antioxidants, which guard against cancer and other diseases. P and burn off fat.t antioxidant-rich lemon juice in your Earl Grey for even more fat-curbing power. A cup of plain Earl Grey tea in moderation as no calories
Green Tea has bioactive compounds that dissolve in hot water to provide health benefits including antioxidants good for weight loss. It contains EGCG, a compound that increases metabolism and powerful antioxidants called catechins. EGCG helps control enzymes that break down norepinephrine, a hormone similar to adrenalin. With more norepinephrine in your system, there’s potential for more fat cells to be broken down. A cup of plain green tea has no calories.
Ginger Tea – ginger is known as a natural appetite suppressant, and it tastes good. A cup of ginger tea has no calories and offers a zesty taste – it’s like ginger ale without the sugar and carbonation. Ginger has thermogenic qualities, and it raises your body temperature slightly, boosting metabolism and helping you burn off fat while feeling more energetic.
Good News – Red Wine Offers Antioxidant Benefits
An occasional glass of red wine with dinner will help you chill out with friends and has health benefits, too!Red wine has antioxidants good for weight loss; sorry to report beer doesn’t. The flavonoids and phenolic acids in red wine reduce triglyceride production in fat cells to protect against heart disease and keep weight off. A glass of merlot has 122 calories (5 fluid ounces). Drinking wine ( or wine spritzers) in moderation won’t harm your weight loss program and may even help.
Take a Wheatgrass Supplement with Antioxidants Good for Weight Loss
Using a natural wheatgrass supplement adds power to an already well-planned diet. Wheatgrass offers 20 amino acids, phytochemicals and hundreds of minerals, vitamins and nutrients to keep you healthy and focused while dieting and beyond. Wheatgrass is one of the world’s best superfoods, powered by chlorophyll, nature’s “green pigment”. You can get wheatgrass in juice or powdered form, but a wheatgrass weight loss supplement in tablet form is more convenient for many people.
Wheatgrass Helps You Lose Weight- And It Has A Higher Antioxidant Capacity than Fruits or Vegetables
The super-nutrient wheatgrass, with its high concentration of chlorophyll, minerals, vitamins and enzymes provides more antioxidants than any fruit or vegetable on your dinner table. Wheatgrass contains the antioxidant vitamins A, C and E, plus many flavonoids and phenolic compounds. A major study showed that wheatgrass offers a higher antioxidant capacity than supermarket or even organic fruits and vegetables. You’ll receive more antioxidants from a wheatgrass supplement tablet or wheatgrass shot than you would in many servings of fruits or vegetables. To prevent premature aging and protect yourself against cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure and Alzheimer’s, take a wheatgrass supplement a few times a day.
Wheatgrass Love’s Zeal O2 Gives You Chlorophyll and Its Antioxidant Power for Quick, Safe Weight Loss
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