Of the list of antioxidant foods recently released by the USDA, small red beans and wild blueberries are among the top. The list of antioxidant foods contains the many fruits and vegetables which have the highest concentrations of disease-fighting antioxidant compounds.
But what are antioxidants?
Many families find the list of antioxidant foods a household term. Anyone who has ever been encouraged by their mothers to eat their greens could attest to that. Yet, the how and why this list of antioxidant foods works in our immune system remain a mystery for most.
As the name itself suggests, the list of antioxidant foods primarily acts against the effects of oxygen in our system. It’s true that oxygen is the source of life and that we need it to breathe. But even an essential element of life can have a negative ripple effect on the body. One such element is oxygen.
How Oxygen forms Damaging By-products
When our body undergoes normal metabolism, oxygen forms by-products called free radicals which can be damaging to our system. These free radicals are molecules with an odd number of electrons, making them highly reactive. Because of their unequal number of electrons, free radicals seek out another electron from their neighboring molecules, usually healthy ones, thereby disrupting their normal functioning. In so doing, the free radicals turn these molecules into free radicals like themselves. The result therefore is a chain reaction which when accumulated can cause massive cell damage, tissue damage, and eventually lead to degenerative diseases.
How the List of Antioxidant Foods stop Free Radicals
The list of antioxidant foods contains a high level of antioxidants whose function among others is to seek out free radicals and neutralize them. The list of antioxidant foods fights by binding the free radicals before they can cause damage (oxidative stress) to the body. The list of antioxidant foods also repair any damage that might have already been rendered.
Recently, nutrition scientists working at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) measured antioxidant levels of more than 100 foods contained in their list of antioxidant foods. This list of antioxidant foods includes fruits, vegetables, nuts, dried fruits, spices, and cereals. Interestingly enough, several types of beans, berries, and nuts appear frequently at the top of the list, which led scientists to conclude that among the top antioxidant foods, berries certainly occupy the top spot in the fruit category, beans in the vegetable category, and hazelnuts and walnuts in the nut category.