Friday, December 26, 2008

Eat These 20 Antioxidant-Rich Foods

Calorie Lab offers us a list of the most healthy foods, 20 of them, around which to build our diet. If we simply take this list, add some lean protein sources, and get some exercise, we will have everything we need to be healthy and live well into old age.

Want to live longer? Eat these 20 foods

A doctor in the UK has come up with a list of 20 foods that people should eat if they want to live a long life. Gary Williamson, a professor of “functional foods” at Leeds University (who knew there was such a professorship?), calls these 20 gems lifespanessential — apparently professors in functional foods don’t need spaces — and says everyone should be eating them regularly.

Antioxidant powerhouses

The key to the usefulness of all these foods is their antioxidants, compounds that help prevent cell damage, thus slowing down the aging process and helping prevent heart disease and at least some cancers.

The foods, along with their most potent antioxidants, include:

  • Apples: polyphenols
  • Blackberries: anthocyanins
  • Black tea: theaflavins
  • Blueberries: anthocyanins
  • Broccoli: polyphenols
  • Cereal bran: fiber and phenolic acids
  • Cherries: anthocyanins
  • Cherry tomoatoes: quercatin
  • Coffee: phenolic acids
  • Cranberries: procyanadin
  • Dark chocolate: epicatechin
  • Green tea: polyphenols
  • Oranges: hesperedin
  • Peaches: epicatechin and phenolic acids
  • Plums: epicatechin and phenolic acids
  • Raspberries: anthocyanins
  • Red grapes: anthocyanins and phenolic acids
  • Red onions: quercatin
  • Spinach: polyphenols
  • Strawberries: anthocyanins and ellagic acid

These compounds perform various functions in the body, and it’s great to get a combination of as many of these superfoods as possible daily for the best disease prevention effects. It’s best to consume these foods in their whole forms rather than trying an antioxidant or whole foods supplement, because there are compounds in the fruits that aren’t fully understood, and no one knows what the ideal quantities of the various compounds might be to produce the most healthful outcomes, the professor says.

And even if you eat these foods religiously, Williamson says you shouldn’t expect to live forever. Those biblical life expectancies just aren’t realistic, because our bodies will break down through use eventually no matter how many antioxidants we pump into them.

(By Sarah E. White for CalorieLab Calorie Counter News)

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