Obesity is becoming an ever increasing problem in our society, can a diet rich in antioxidants really lead to weight loss? The first question must be, IS THERE a connection between antioxidants and weight loss? Read on.
Obesity is becoming an ever increasing problem in our society, can a diet rich in antioxidants really lead to weight loss? The first question must be, IS THERE a connection between antioxidants and weight loss?
The word antioxidant has been a very hot buzzword in many fields of health and diet for a little while now but do they aid weight loss? First, if you have no idea what an antioxidant is the please go to this page (just click on the words) ; WHAT IS AN ANTIOXIDANT, and then return to this article.
The way your body generates energy and heat to keep you and your organs warm is by digesting the food you eat and breaking it down, this process is called metabolism. One of the many things that result from the natural process of metabolism are free radials also called oxidants, which are by-products or a type of residue of metabolism. Like any other residue or by-product, if these oxidants aren’t cleaned up, they can lead to a seriously negative effect on your health.
Yes, I hear you say but you are reading this to find out if antioxidants and weight loss have anything to do with each other! Read on and more will be revealed.
A healthy body is capable of cleaning up the ‘normal’ load of oxidants. It does this by using anti-oxidants which clean the reside from the body and prevent it from becoming an irritant and damaging other nearby healthy cells. However, when we eat a lot of;
1) Junk Food;
2) Don’t exercise;
3) Don’t drink enough water; and
4) Live with an elevated level of stress consistently, the body is unable to remove the all oxidants as efficiently as it should.
If the body is overwhelmed with high levels of oxidants on a daily basis, leading to a situation known as ‘oxidative stress‘, then cells and tissues within the body start to deteriorate, setting up the environment for shortened cell life, lowered immune system functions, and general rapid aging of the entire body.
Being overweight generates a low but persistent level of inflammation in the body which adds to already unmanageable levels of oxidant activity. Your body is then in a state of disrepair and cannot fix itself properly. That means losing weight is even harder because your body sees it as another form of stress.
There is a way to combat oxidative stress – certain foods have the ability to stop the corrosive oxidative effect and thus are called antioxidants.
These foods – most of them fruits – excel at sweeping up the residue as well as stopping the chain of deterioration oxidants can create. Their ability to be able to stop this process is determined by their Oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) the higher the number the stronger their antioxdative powers are. Try and include at least two cups of the following foods in your diet every day, this will go a long way in lowering the stress level of your body, allowing it to heal and to release fat as your body improves its metabolic rate leading to weight loss.
ORAC Values of foods
Those foods that contain the highest number of antioxidants have a high ORAC figure and include:
Blackberries (ORAC 5065). They are also full fiber, minerals, vitamins and loaded with healing antioxidants, namely pranthocyanidins
* Strawberries (ORAC 4302) – Strawberries, raspberries and blackberries also contain ellagic acid, a compound that combats carcinogens. Blueberries also appear to delay the onset of age-related loss in cognitive function.
* Plums (ORAC 6100) * Prunes, uncooked (ORAC 8059) * Red delicious apples (ORAC 4275) * Granny Smith apples (ORAC 3898) * Sweet cherries, raw (ORAC 3747)
*Garlic, raw (ORAC 5708) – is a medicinal herb which has been used for centuries in a variety of ways, including as an antibiotic. Garlic is packed with antioxidants and sulfur compounds thought to be responsible for its healing benefits. Garlic is known to lower cholesterol levels, reduce blood pressure and has anti-clotting properties.
*Broccoli, boiled (ORAC 2160) – Loaded with antioxidants broccoli is one of the cruciferous vegetables, such as cabbage, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts, that help to prevent cancer and ward off heart disease. These vegetables contain indole-3-carbinol, a potent antioxidant that breaks down estrogen in the body and reduces the risk of breast cancer and cervical cancers. Broccoli also contains beta-carotene which helps to prevent heart disease.
*Spinach, raw (ORAC 1513) – the antioxidant here is Lutein and is the main pigment located in the macula of the eye. People who eat spinach are less likely to develop cataracts. Lutein also works by shielding the retina from sun damage and can help prevent heart disease.
* black, red kidney, pinto beans, cooked (ORAC 900) – Great source of complex carbohydrate (good carbs), protein and fiber
*Carrots raw/boiled (ORAC 697/326) – have long been linked to improving eye sight. This is due to the beta-carotene, also founded beets, sweet potatoes and other orange vegetables. It has been found to help prevent macular degeneration. Research also points to the protection that beta-carotene provides against cancer, heart disease and the progression of arthritis
*Tomatoes raw/cooked (ORAC 387/423) – Science has found that tomatoes contain chemicals, including lycopene, which wards off certain types of cancer and prevents macular degeneration and cataracts. Lycopene is a relatively rare member of the carotenoid family and is twice as powerful as beta-carotene. Some studies suggest that lycopene can help to prevent lung, colon and breast cancer. Tomatoes contain the antioxidant glutathione which helps to boost immune function.
Whilst there is a little direct scientific proof between antioxidants and weight loss (antioxidants do directly affect fat cells), there is an indirect link between the consumption of a sufficient amount of antioxidants and weight loss, plus the many additional benefits to your health.