Can Antioxidants Improve Heart Health?
A healthy diet is the key to good health. Prevention is better than cure and one is never too young or too old to take care of one’s heart. So, making smart and healthy dietary choices along with a good lifestyle will reduce the risk factor for various chronic diseases and help improve the overall quality of life. Today, many corporate wellness programs include initiatives for heart health. Clinical nutritionists through their weight management programs also help in improving heart health.
Clinical research has shown a positive association between antioxidants and prevention of heart disease. Free radicals are formed in the body through various reactions, body processes and via the environment. If left unchecked, these free radicals can damage the cells, oxidize blood lipids, increase the risk of atherosclerosis and thus increases the risk of cardio vascular diseases. Antioxidants prevent the diseases by fighting these free radicals.
Here, is a list of antioxidants that help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and help maintain heart health.
Carotenoids are generally found in orange yellow or red coloured fruits and vegetables such as wheat grass powder, colocassia leaves, methi leaves, carrots, oranges, pumpkin, papaya, watermelon, mangoes, bell pepper, etc. Cooking carotenoid foods in a small amount of fat before consumption increases its absorption.
Vitamin C is a very powerful antioxidant and although there are mixed reviews about the efficacy of its role in the prevention of cardio vascular disease it would be still wise to consume it to benefit the heart. Foods with high vitamin C content include amla, guava, wheat grass powder, bell pepper, kiwi, lemon, lime, leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, strawberries, etc. Boiling can decrease the vitamin C content by 50%, so preferably consume these foods in raw form or cook minimally.
Almond is regarded to be a memory boosting food. It is also rich in vitamin Ewhich has antioxidant properties. One can get vitamin E from vegetable oils like peanut, olive, rice bran, nuts, oilseeds, etc. So have your nuts and oil seeds daily either in raw form or add them to smoothies or milkshakes to get your daily dose of vitamin E.
Flavonoids are naturally occurring antioxidants in blue berries, strawberries, red grapes, pomegranates, plums, apples, spinach,cocoa, tea, etc. Consuming these richly colored fruits and vegetables provide protection against heart diseases.
Eating a balanced diet with most of the nutrient dense foods in moderate amounts will help in obtaining the antioxidants for maintaining heart health. A clinical nutritionist can help in evaluating one’s diet to ensure the intake of heart healthy foods to maintain good heart health and help design the best diet for pcos weight loss.