By Mr. Bridreth Khokhare*
Health is a person’s psychological, mental and physical condition. Healthy people are considered to be those who are free from illness and injuries. Good health is of prime importance for all individuals and a great deal of effort is required to stay healthy.
Due to excessive pollution in the environment around us and adulteration in the food that we consume, it is difficult to stay healthy without the help of specific nutritional foods or external nutritional supplements. Pollution leads to the production of reactive oxygen species in our body which damages biomolecules in our cell and tissues. These reactive species and free radicals consist of hydrogen peroxides, reactive oxygen species, superoxides, hydroxyl radicals, etc. Excessive production of these reactive species damages lipids, proteins, genetic material and leads to a plethora of diseases including cancer, atherosclerosis, Auto-immune disorders, chronic degenerative disease, rheumatoid arthritis, neurodegeneration and hypersensitivity.
To counter these free radicals & harmful reactive species our body requires free radical scavengers known as anti-oxidants. There are many food sources that are rich source in anti-oxidants. Few known anti-oxidants include glutathione, arginine, citrulline, taurine, creatine, selenium, zinc, vitamin E, vitamin C, beta carotene, Bio flavones, carotenoids and tea polyphenols, etc. Recently there has been growing evidence that shows that intake of anti-oxidants and key traces mineral-rich food does reduce the oxidative stress of the body.
Our health defines our wellbeing and nutrition is key to a great healthy. Informative & adequate consumption of fruits, vegetables, herbs, Spices, Beverages, shrubs, cereal and nuts is important. Eating a variety of colorful foods with every meal is vital for boosting maximum Immunity. Red colored fruit and vegetables are a rich source of anthocyanins and Lycopene. Bight orange and yellow colored foods are rich sources of Pro-vitamins. Green colored fruits and vegetables are a rich source of Chlorophylls & carotenoids. Blue & purple colored foods are a good source of anthocyanins and proanthocyanidins. Dark brown and black foods are rich sources of resveratrol & flavonoids.
Fruits: Fruits that are rich in anti-oxidants include Oranges, citrus fruits, berries, Pomegranates, Figs, Plums, apples, apricots, grapes, peaches, raspberries, strawberries, red currants, cherries, pears, guava, apricots, mango, watermelon, Kale etc. Regular consumption of fruits and berries may be responsible for delaying the decline in brain function that tends to happen with age. This may happen due to neutralizing harmful free radicals, reducing inflammation and boosting adaptive immunity.
Additionally, fruits are good sources of many important minerals, vitamins, fibers and natural sugars. Few fruits a day can be of great health benefit. The antioxidants including polyphenols & anthocyanins have been shown to reduce risk factors for heart disease, lowering LDL cholesterol levels and blood pressure.
Vegetables: Dietary Vegetables provide the body, an added source of anti-oxidant to fight against free radicals. Major vegetables and cereals include barley, Broccoli, Tomato, Spinach. While Cruciferous vegetables are rich sources of indoles, chlorophyll and Carotenoids like Ferulic acid, carotenoids lutein, zeaxanthin and beta-carotene other Water rich red colored Vegetables are rich source of lycopene and vitamin C.
Vegetables are excellent source of insoluble fiber known as roughage which is essential for digestion and proper bowl movement. Without the necessary intake of healthy vegetables, free radicals can spread and eventually lead to various types of cancer.
Cereals & Nuts: Grain cereals include wheat, barley, maize, millets, rice, etc. whole-grain cereal provide a wide range of phytochemicals that has protective effects on metabolic health. The hydrolysable polyphenols, flavan-3-ols & tocopherols present in cereals have strong free-radical scavenging potential. Gastrointestinal digestion and fermentation of cereals in our stomach increase their antioxidant potentials.
Walnuts and natural dates are a rich source of important minerals and anti-oxidants like Anacardic acids are phenolic lipids. Walnut polyphenols had the best efficacy among the nuts and also the highest lipoprotein-bound antioxidant activity. Regular Consumption of nuts has been shown to improve the lipid profile, increase endothelial function and reduce inflammation.
Spices and Herbs: Most of the species used in cooking are loaded with anti-oxidants and anti-cancerous. Spices like turmeric, cumin, ginger, Cardamom, Clove, mustard seeds, pepper, garlic, paprika, and onion contains actives like curcuminoids, Gingerols, Eugenol, Piperine, Capsaicin, Allicin, quercetin, etc. These active has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-cancerous and very strong antioxidant properties. Regular consumption of these spices supports the body in compacting free radicals and fungal, viral, inflammatory diseases.
Herbs include basil, curry leaves, fenugreek, Coriander, peppermint, oregano, savory and dill weed. All of which provides a required flavor to the meal along with anti-oxidant.
Beverages: Beverages in both hot and cold forms are a good source of anti-oxidants. Coffee, chocolate drinks, Cinnamon drink, black tea, ashwagandha tea, Green tea contains flavanols, Cinnamic acid hydrocinnamic acids, polyphenols, withanolides, flavonoids etc. Their strong anti-oxidants are very effective in compacting the free radical produced in our body.
When consumed in moderation, Wine and grain-made beer provide a healthy dose of anti-oxidants.
Physical wellness is very important for being healthy. Food and the right nutrients play a key role in maintaining good health. Vegetables, nuts and fruits rich in antioxidants and micronutrients are required to stay healthy. Dark coloured foods are high in anti-oxidants and many important traces metals. A good choice to pick a plater is of coloured platter as different color vegetables or fruits contain a specific type of anti-oxidants.