Antioxidants refer to substances that act against the free radicals, which are reactive substances that can cause damage to cells, thereby making one susceptible to medical conditions. This Buzzle article provides information on an antioxidant diet.
There’s no denying the fact that following a balanced, healthy diet is essential for the normal growth and development of the body. Unfortunately, most of us are more concerned about the flavor of the food rather than its nutritive value. Also, many of us don’t exercise. This makes us susceptible to several health problems. In order to stay healthy, we must follow a healthy diet. Also, our diet should be rich in antioxidants, which are substances that prevent damage caused by free radicals. Following a diet that is rich in antioxidants can lower the risk of several medical conditions.
Why Do You Need Antioxidants
An antioxidant diet is rich in vitamins, minerals, carotenoids, and polyphenols that protect and repair cells from the harmful effects of free radicals. Each and every cell of our body requires oxygen for its smooth functioning. However, the same oxygen can damage the cells by a process known as oxidation. The damage caused by free radicals may lead to chronic diseases like atherosclerosis, cancer, and arthritis. Free radicals tend to interfere with our immune system, thereby hampering its function and making us prone to common cold, flu, and other infections.
The free radicals that are produced by the process of oxidation are neutralized by the antioxidants in diet. The antioxidants stop the oxidation process, and prevent the oxidative damage. The well-known antioxidants found in food are vitamin E, vitamin C, beta carotene, and selenium. Our body needs a constant supply of these antioxidants in order to protect itself from oxidative damage.
Antioxidant Diet Plan
The O2 diet by Keri Glassman, a registered dietitian, focuses on including food items that are rich in antioxidants. It is a 32-day plan in which food items that score high on the ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) scale need to be included in one’s diet. The dieter can have three meals and at least one snack in a day.
In the first phase that lasts four days, one needs to get 50,000 ORAC points daily, while keeping the calorie intake low. One needs to drink lots of water. One can also have green tea, as it is rich in antioxidants.
From the fifth day onwards, the dieter must get 30,000 ORAC points daily. This phase lasts for two weeks. One must consume lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. It must be noted that one cannot have alcohol in the first and second phase.
In the third phase, you can add one indulgence in a week. This phase lasts for 2 weeks.
In the fourth phase, you can follow the guidelines for the third phase, while adding one more indulgence in a week. Also, you should have a high-ORAC fruit per day. You can have alcohol in the third and fourth phase, but in moderation. It must be noted that alcohol amounts to an indulgence.
Begin your morning with a cereal. Include fresh juicy berries in your cereal which will serve as a tasty delight. You could have oatmeal and raisins, and a glass of fresh fruit juice or yogurt mixed with fresh blueberries.
Red beans or kidney beans are a healthy addition to tacos, pastas, and salads. Include chopped mixed vegetables along with a fruit to complete the meal. If you are a non-vegetarian, you could go for a chicken salad sandwich along with the mixed veggies.
You could have green tea in the evening. It has numerous health benefits, and will also freshen you up for the rest of your day.
For dinner, you can have chicken or beef stir fry along with bell peppers, asparagus, and mushrooms. Add spinach to your sandwiches instead of lettuce and do not forget the fruit. You could mix fruits and yogurt.
Foods to Avoid
✗ Fried food
✗ Baked goods
✗ Sugar- and fat-free processed foods
✗ High-fat or processed meats
✗ Artificial sweeteners
✗ Trans fats
✗ High-fructose corn syrup
While vegetables and fruits are naturally rich in water, it is important to consume water as well.
Sources of Antioxidants
Antioxidants are naturally present in many foods. Fruits and vegetables are packed with natural antioxidants and should be an important part of one’s diet. Some of the best antioxidants sources include garlic, carrots, soy, tea and whole grains. Fruits that are rich in antioxidants include:
Vegetables that are rich in antioxidants include:
✓ Brussels sprouts
✓ Red cabbage
✓ Chili pepper
✓ Red beets
Other food items that can be included in this diet are:
✓ Broad beans
✓ Pinto beans
✓ Sunflower seeds
Following a diet that is rich in antioxidants can reduce the risk of heart diseases as well as cancer. The key is to combine the aforementioned food items in a creative way to form a daily diet plan. The plan should consist of variations so that you will be able to follow it for long.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of nutritionist or dietitian.