It isn’t uncommon to hear people say that eating or drinking something is “good for the heart.” One of the most common words that gets thrown around with this phrase is the term “antioxidants.” While most people know that antioxidants are good for them, it might be hard to know why they are.
In honor of American Heart Month, Grand Parkway Emergency Center wants to talk about these important nutrients and how you can incorporate them into your diet. Getting more antioxidants everyday can help strengthen your heart for your entire life, and during a month that celebrates hearts, both romantic and anatomical, there is no better time to learn about them.
What Antioxidants Do
While most people know that antioxidants are a good thing, some do not know why. These nutrients are huge boosts to a body’s health and longevity, and it all has to do with a body’s circulation. Blood vessels, arteries and veins, all need clean passageways to deliver blood throughout the body. It is a well understood fact that cholesterol can build up in some places in the body and block certain blood pathways. This is a serious health risk since these blockages often cause heart attacks, strokes, and other severe conditions. Preventing the build up of harmful cholesterol is, thusly, an important factor in overall health.
This is where antioxidants come in.
The bad kind of cholesterol is referred to as oxidized LDL. When oxidized LDL builds up, it can not only cause blockages, but also damage surrounding tissue. Antioxidants are nutrients found in certain foods that break down oxidized LDL particles and protect your body from any further damage. This makes antioxidants a very beneficial nutrient to have in your diet.
Where to Find Antioxidants
Antioxidants, like many other vitamins and minerals we need, are best absorbed by the body when we eat them. Knowing where to find antioxidants can help you not only maximize the health of your diet, but also find new inspiration at the grocery store. Here are some of the foods that are packed full of antioxidants:
- Blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, and cranberries
- Pecans and walnuts
- Artichoke hearts, spinach, and kale
- Dark chocolate (it has to be 70% cacao or higher for good antioxidant counts)
These foods are all rich in antioxidants, even the chocolate. Incorporating more of them into your weekly meal planning is a good way to increase your antioxidant intake. With so many berries on the list, it can even be easy to make some healthy, antioxidant-rich desserts that your whole family will enjoy.
Antioxidants are an important part of long-term heart health. Bringing more of them into your diet, from berry-filled breakfasts to artichokes as supper side-dishes, is a good way to help the whole family arm themselves against heart disease. As American Heart Month continues, Grand Parkway Emergency Center urges everyone in our community to take a look at where they can fit more antioxidants into their lives.
Nutex Health, Inc. supports you and your family’s health. Come visit Grand Parkway Emergency Center, A Department of OakBend Medical Center or any one of our concierge-level freestanding facilities for the emergency care you deserve, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.