Anyone paying attention to food marketing may have noticed that more and more products on the shelves have been swift to point out their high levels of antioxidants. Research from the past few years, which remains ongoing, has supported the general idea that antioxidants are extremely beneficial for a variety of health reasons. From anti-aging properties, to fighting cancer, to the possibility of fighting heart disease, all of these benefits seem to stem from the ability of antioxidants to reduce damage in the body caused by free radicals. The hunt is now on to find new sources of antioxidants, to help consumers maintain a balanced diet while experiencing these benefits.
A study recently published in the Journal of Nutrition states that pecans may be one of the best natural sources of antioxidants, particularly vitamin E. This study found that a diet rich in pecans has the ability to double the body’s levels of vitamin E, at least on a temporary basis. Because vitamin E is one of the most common antioxidants, this may be a fast and effective way to experience the benefits of antioxidants. Another factor that was discovered in this same study was that eight hours after participants ate pecans, the amount of LDL, or bad cholesterol, dropped in the blood by 25%.
However, pecans are not the only unusual sources of antioxidants that have been noted in recent research studies. Other substances include lavender oil, dark chocolate and roasted coffee. Spices can also be excellent sources of these vitamins, which surprises many people who assume that they are only useful for flavoring food. Just one teaspoon of cinnamon, for example, has been shown to contain the same amount of antioxidant vitamins as one cup of pomegranate juice or a half cup serving of blueberries. Other sources include turmeric, rosemary, and thyme.
The reason why these studies are undertaken in the first place and researchers are so keen to find new sources of antioxidants is because they have been shown to have such a profound effect on human health. This family of vitamins is able to prevent free radicals, or charged particles that occur within the body, from interacting in any way with human cells. The Harvard School of Public Health states that any interaction in between free radicals and human cells can leave them more open to diseases including cancer or diabetes, in some cases.
To combat these ill effects, many consumers choose to take dietary supplements that are rich in antioxidants such as selenium, vitamins C and E, and beta-carotene. Yet looking into natural sources of antioxidants can help you create a regular diet that is also rich in vitamins. Pecans are only the latest source that have been indicated, so it’s recommended by many health care professionals and scientists alike to stay on top of these latest trends. This can help you to start protecting yourself from free radicals while still enjoying the foods you like most.