Antioxidants are linked to several health benefits in our bodies. The antioxidants for heart health, however, play quite a critical role. Many studies have established that the inclusion of antioxidants in your diet can significantly keep you safe and protect you against heart ailments. Let us take a look at how antioxidants and heart health are related.
What are antioxidants?
Antioxidants are molecules that help us fight the effects of oxidation in our bodies. There are various processes that occur in our bodies throughout the day. Metabolic processes in the body use up oxygen and form byproducts that are termed free radicals. These free radicals are linked to the damage of our cell membranes, cellular components and may ultimately damage the genetic material in the cells. This can even lead to the alteration of DNA in our bodies.
Antioxidants eliminate free radicals from the body and counter the negative effects of oxidation. Antioxidants bind to the free radicals and prevent them from causing any damage to our cells. Oxidation can have a negative impact on the heart and antioxidants actively decrease the risk of heart ailments by countering free radicals. In other words, Antioxidants and heart disease share an inverse relationship.
What are the benefits of antioxidants?
The benefits of antioxidants for heart are related to their capability of negating the effects of free radicals in our bodies. Our cardiovascular system constantly requires oxygen in order to function optimally.
The cells in the heart generate something known as reactive oxygen species which act as signalling molecules that are crucial for the functioning of the heart. Oxidation in the heart is countered by natural antioxidants in the cells. However, oxidation can exceed the levels which natural antioxidants can handle. This is what leads to cardiovascular stress. Antioxidants and heart health are thus closely related since additional antioxidants in the body can greatly negate the impact of oxidative stress on the heart.
Best antioxidant for heart
Antioxidants for heart consist of vitamins and minerals that we often consume through our daily diet. Some of the best antioxidants for heart include:
- Vitamin E
Vitamin E, a beneficial antioxidant for heart health, prevents the oxidation of polyunsaturated fatty acids in the membranes of the heart. Vitamin E also prevents the oxidation of low-density-lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol in the heart to some extent. Oxidised LDL cholesterol is attributed to a majority of heart diseases, as it leads to blockages in the heart.
- Vitamin C
Vitamin C is associated with the strengthening of our immune system. It is also a useful antioxidant for heart health. Vitamin C prevents the entry of free radicals into LDL particles of the heart. This reduces the oxidation of LDL particles and prevents major heart ailments.
B-carotene protects the heart by reducing the uptake of oxidised LDL particles in the arteries of the heart. This prevents blockages in the heart to a great extent.
How to include antioxidants for heart health in your diet?
Antioxidants are naturally present in vegetables and fruits. Thus, increasing the intake of fruits and vegetables can help include antioxidants in your diet very easily. Following are some of the most antioxidant-rich food items available and should definitely be a part of your diet, if not already:
- Dark chocolate
Dark chocolate is one of the best sources of antioxidants in the world. It has been proven very beneficial for heart health. Dark chocolate contains flavonoids that help in the prevention of LDL from getting oxidised.
Berries such as blackberries, gooseberries, strawberries, and blueberries are full of antioxidants for heart health. They contain vitamin C and anthocyanins.
- Vegetable oil
Vegetable oils such as olive, soybean, and cottonseed oil are great sources of vitamin E. They can prove to be quite healthy for the heart when consumed in controlled quantities.
- Colourful vegetables and fruits
Colourful vegetables and fruits are full of antioxidants. Include carrots, bell peppers, sweet potatoes, apricots, and mangoes in your diet to promote heart health.
- Citrus fruits
Citrus fruits such as lemons, oranges, and melons are a great source of vitamin C, which is not only a good antioxidant for heart health but also a great immunity booster.
Antioxidants and heart disease are enemies. Antioxidants are some of the most beneficial components that we can consume in order to prevent serious heart ailments. They help prevent serious diseases by inhibiting the oxidation of components in the heart. So, follow an antioxidant-rich diet plan to naturally strengthen your body and build resistance against free radicals that harm the heart.