The development of chronic non-communicable diseases such as heart disease and cardiovascular system, cancer or neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease can be caused in part by oxidative stress. The oxidative process is the basis of aging, so it is an important factor in preventing and slowing down the aging of the cell, and thus the organism. The organism itself has its own systems for fighting free radicals, which over time fail, naturally, which is supported by our non-maintenance of the system. Therefore, we need to support the body with a lifestyle. As part of the lifestyle, nutrition and physical activity are in the first place, followed by the environment as a factor in reducing stress, nature … Diet, ie daily food intake, especially of vegetables and fruits, is considered an ideal source of antioxidants. It is these groups of chemical compounds that fight free radicals and provide support to our immune system.
They work by delaying the initiation of oxidation or blocking it within our lipids, proteins, carbohydrates, DNA, or within all systems at the cellular level. Vitamins are known to be labeled as antioxidants such as vitamin C, vitamin E and its isomers, and from minerals such as selenium. But, when referred by a doctor, it is always important to reach and maintain all stocks with a varied and balanced diet. Namely, the question is whether this is possible given the often debatable composition of food, so we are increasingly turning to organic or simply controlled production in smaller rural households. When you eat foods rich in vitamin C, for example, whether it is fruits or vegetables, in addition to the above antioxidant, we also have potent phytonutrients that, in synergy with vitamin C, have a much stronger effect than taking a vitamin C tablet separately.
And with this we come to a very important part, that is, that the various pigments found in plants also have antioxidant properties. These include substances such as carotenoids, isoflavones, flavonoids and proanthocyanidins. Where are these compounds, so in foods of plant origin as bright colors and intense. There are lists of foods that have strong antioxidant power, these are the so-called official ORAC lists (Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity). ORAC is a measure of inhibition of peroxide radicals through components within the chemical reactions themselves.
As part of ORAC measures, various tests are performed that indicate the antioxidant (in) activity of many foods, where substances that are soluble and insoluble in water are taken into account. For example, carotenoids dissolve in lipids, while anthocyanins in water, and both groups of compounds are found as powerful and possible antioxidants. Carotenoids are found in yellow, orange, and even green light cells, and anthocyanins in dark red and purple. At the very top of this list in the group of the most potent (A) are blueberries, especially wild, fresh cranberries, annual berries, pomegranate, while for example the popular unsweetened cranberry juice has much less antioxidant power. This happens because you have grown specific plant pigments and only ingested fruit juice or nectar with minerals and maybe vitamins. That is why it is extremely important to process the food before consumption, because from the attached we can see that the antioxidant power can be reduced.
Fresh avocado is in group B together with, for example, peeled apple delicacy. Apples are “healthier” if eaten with the peel, because they contain pigments, dyes, plant fibers, but let’s not forget about pesticides, so buy organic ones. Fresh figs are more potent than squeezed red grapefruit juice. Grapes of all kinds are in group A, and they have antioxidants and are soluble in fats and water, which is a real treasure, so take advantage of this period when you have it. Of the vegetables, broccoli, no matter how it is stored, remains in group A among the best, otherwise it is in the recommendations for cancer prevention. Along with the jugs, there are carrots, both fresh and cooked, celery, all kinds of lettuce, kale, prosciutto … Let’s go back to the recommendations for the intake of fruits and vegetables in the diet, which is from 3 to 5 servings where we actually reach an optimal levels of ORAC score, if we ingest a variety of foods every day.
The recommendations of scientists from the National Institute of Health and Aging (NIH) engaged in research in this area are to enter between 3,000 and 5,000 ORAC units. ORAC units are made per 100g of some food. There are a lot of spices in the top ten, so play with the flavors, among them there is garlic, acai berry berries which are pandam to all our berries and cocoa powder, but organic.