Sunday 17 July 2016

7 Key Antioxidants to Improve Your Cardiovascular System

Antioxidants can play a key role in improving the cardiovascular system. The best choices include selecting antioxidants and nutrients from foods instead of getting them through supplements.

There is not enough evidence to show that supplements reduce the risk of heart disease or improve health, according to the American Heart Association. However, the AHA recommends foods rich in antioxidants and nutrients to control weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol to boost the cardiovascular system.

Antioxidants are believed to combat free radicals that may contribute to the development of heart disease and cancer.

Along with a healthy diet, the AHA also recommends a healthy lifestyle and regular physical activity to improve the cardiovascular system.

Here are the seven key antioxidants to improve your cardiovascular system and the foods to find them:

1. Heart-healthy antioxidants are found in nutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, lutein, lycopene, and selenium.

Many fresh, whole foods contain these nutrients to lower the risk of certain diseases, but it is not understood if it's the antioxidants that achieve the positive effects or other nutrients, notes the National Institutes of Health.

2. Fruits rich in antioxidants include blueberries, raspberries, cranberries, and blackberries, Dr. Joseph Mercola reports. Berries contain antioxidants from vitamin C, carotenoids, and carotenes.

3. Vegetables such as green leafy veggies contain high amounts of antioxidants.

Eating raw, fresh, or organic vegetables offer optimal results. Rich sources of antioxidants may also be found in corn, eggplant, onions, red bell peppers, beets, broccoli flowers, alfalfa sprouts, Brussels sprouts, spinach, and kale, according to Reader's Digest.

Dark, leafy greens such as spinach and kale are particularly good foods to find vitamins A, C, and E. Kale is also rich in lutein.

4. Pecans, hazelnuts, and walnuts are among the nuts that provide healthy antioxidants. Brazil nuts in particular are highly regarded as a natural source of selenium.

Nuts contain the resveratrol and healthy fats for the heart, WebMD says.

Resveratrol is an antioxidant more commonly associated with grapes and red wine.

Fruits like watermelons, pink grapefruits, apricots, pink guavas, and tomatoes contain the antioxidant lycopene.

While it's common for fruits to lose some of their nutrient value when cooked, the lycopene in tomatoes becomes more digestible when heat-processed.

6. Whole grains include whole grain breads, wild or brown rice, and corn tortillas. Avoid refined grains, such as white breads and white rice.

Look for whole grains as a source of selenium if you have a nut allergy.

Corn is another source for lutein.

7. Beans have a variety of vitamins and minerals for antioxidant action in the body. They include green soybeans, black beans, kidney beans, black-eyed peas, and lentils.

WebMD points out that green soybeans and soy, in particular, contain the antioxidants selenium and vitamin C.

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