(NaturalNews) Antioxidants are powerful nutrients that prevent, reduce, delay, or repair oxidative damage to cells in our body caused by free radicals. The presence of free radicals may result in cancer, stroke, heart problems, early aging, and many other degenerative conditions. Cells will not function properly when free radicals affect them. The radicals occur in our metabolism naturally, but they also are formed by environmental influences like pollution, cigarette smoke from others, radiation, and pesticides. There are certain foods which contain an exceptionally large amount of polyphenols existing in antioxidants. Here are five of the top antioxidant foods:
Coffee`s antioxidant properties of chlorogenic acid and caffeic acid are effective in preventing colon and rectal cancer. They can improve the mood of a coffee drinker, as well as aid in the function of blood vessels. For women drinking coffee can cut risk of stroke almost in half. Studies are also underway to determine the connection between drinking coffee and preventions of diabetes and Parkinson`s disease. Consuming decaffeinated coffee can also ease headaches.
#2 White Tea
The fact that white tea is steamed, rather than dried, after tea picking increases its antioxidant capabilities. Research indicates that white tea offers even more benefits than originally thought, and it contains far more antioxidants than any other tea (even more than the ever popular green tea). White tea is especially effective in slowing the aging process, and it has even been shown to lower blood pressure.
The flavonoids in chocolate have potent antioxidant properties that may protect against degenerative diseases. Research demonstrates an association between high levels of flavonoids in the blood and a reduced risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, asthma and certain types of cancer. The antioxidant benefits are in the raw cocoa itself, so raw dark chocolate is more effective than milk chocolate because it contains a higher concentration of cocoa.
#4 Black Rice
Studies have shown that black rice`s antioxidants (called anthocyanins) are beneficial to the brain, and they can boost memory, delay mental decline in the aging, as well as help to prevent heart disease and cancer. Containing even more antioxidants than blueberries, black rice is also known for its anti-inflammatory properties.
Blueberries are known as an excellent source of polyphenol antioxidants. Native Americans in Maine used to consume blueberries for their powerful healing properties. In 2007, researchers discovered blueberries could also slow the onset of Alzheimer`s disease. Blueberries have also been shown to lower cholesterol, prevent urinary infections, reduce blood sugar, lower blood pressure, and ease depression symptoms.
Elizabeth Walling is a freelance writer specializing in health and family nutrition. She is a strong believer in natural living as a way to improve health and prevent modern disease. She enjoys thinking outside of the box and challenging common myths about health and wellness. You can visit her blog to learn more: www.livingthenourishedlife.com/2009/10/welcome.html
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