Turns out, we can’t just have a bowl of berries in the morning and get the minimum daily antioxidant amount we need.
As our body digests food, free radicals are released. In simple words, those are waste products from different chemical processes in the cell, that harm it, when built up. Some substances that generate free radicals are fried food, tobacco, alcohol and air pollutants, so it is obvious how harmful they are to our body. This means that each meal has to contain antioxidant-rich foods, aka plants, to counteract the negative effects of the average fatty, carbohydrate diet most people have.
“Antioxidant-rich foods originate from the plant kingdom”, but of course some contain more antioxidant compounds than others. Berries are known to be the best antioxidant source, and in case you’re not a fan of those, this doesn’t give you an excuse to stop reading here. Oranges, dark chocolate, green tea, and even coffee are just some of the many foods and beverages that are rich in antioxidants and can help control the oxidative balance.
Obviously, this doesn’t mean that eating a bowl of berries after each meal will cancel out all the negative consequences of a bad diet, but will at least help not to slide backwards and reach a lower level of antioxidants than you woke up with. Let’s see how that works with an example.
The results of a study, where people got standard American breakfast items in the morning, indicated that even six hours after the meal there was a lot of oxidised cholesterol in the bloodstream of the participants. Only a cup of strawberries with that same meal kept it from further oxidation. So, adding antioxidant-rich foods after each meal sets the baseline for the next one, preventing our body to reach a hyper-oxidative state.
And what about if we don’t just want to break even but actually improve the oxidative state of our body – well, then adding more plants to your meals is a good place to start. Consuming antioxidant-rich foods instead of the usual snacks throughout the day is also an option but changing our eating habits and diet in general is the real answer.
In the short-term these negative effects of the food we consume may seem harmless, but in the long-term they are proven to lead to atherosclerosis, and consequently to more deadly diseases.