Antioxidant-Rich Foods That Are Very Low In Calories

Antioxidants are protective substances that act by blocking and counteracting the free radicals of oxygen produced in the body. Although free radicals are part of the normal function of the body, an increased concentration can cause damage to the cells and the DNA. Free radicals are responsible to some extent for several chronic degenerative diseases, for some types of cancer, as well as for premature aging. Many studies have found that a diet rich in antioxidants may play an essential catalytic role in the prevention of chronic diseases that afflict the population of the 21st century, such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.

The human body may have the ability to produce its own antioxidants, but usually they are not enough to cope with the plethora of “enemies”, such as smoking, stress, air pollution, poor diet, sunlight etc. So, it becomes clear that eating foods rich in antioxidants is essential for our health.

Below is a list of the best antioxidant-rich foods that are also very low in calories:

Broccoli (33 calories per 100grams)

Broccoli is among the most popular vegetables and for good reason. It contains a significant amount of phytochemicals that act against cancer and it’s very low in calories. Broccoli is also packed with protein, folic acid, magnesium and calcium. Additionally, it is a good source of vitamin C, anthocyanins and phenols, which are powerful antioxidants. However, this is a very delicate vegetable that shouldn’t be cooked for long, so as not to lose its beneficial properties.

Tea (0 calories if you drink it plain)

Green, black, or white tea is very rich in antioxidants and can protect against coronary heart disease. In fact, many studies have shown that people who drink 4 cups of tea per day reduce the risk of getting a heart attack by about 50%. Also, the regular consumption of tea can prevent stomach cancer. The substances that are behind the antioxidant action of tea belong to a family of phytochemicals called polyphenols. The two main polyphenols of tea are epicatechin and epigallocatechin.

Citrus fruit (lemons calories per 100grams - Oranges calories per 100grams)

Oranges, lemons, grapefruit and lime, are among the best sources of antioxidants. They are rich in vitamin C, and in fact eating a single fruit per day can provide you with 60mg of this vitamin. The beneficial properties of citrus fruit include cholesterol reduction and protection against cancer. The flavonoids contained in citrus fruits can inhibit the formation of plaque in blood vessels. They also contain potassium, folic acid and a soluble fiber known as pectin. What is more according to some studies, citrus fruit can help increase HDL (good cholesterol).

Artichoke (41 calories per 100grams)

Artichokes are rich in fiber, which is beneficial for the digestive system, in magnesium, which reduces blood pressure, in vitamin B that is essential for pregnant women and in vitamin C that is one of the most powerful antioxidants. It has been shown that artichokes can reduce free radicals associated with cancer and premature aging and help improve sexual mood.

Carrots (35 calories per 100grams)

Raw or cooked carrots make the ideal snack, due to the fact that they are very low in calories. The substances that give carrots their beautiful color are called carotenoids. Carotenoids have a strong antioxidant activity and can be converted into vitamin A by the human body.

Grapes (60 calories per 100grams)

Grapes contain powerful antioxidants that act against premature aging and diseases and are also beneficial for the cardiovascular system. The beneficial properties of grapes are due to their high content of polyphenols. Polyphenols can prevent blood clotting and help to prevent LDL cholesterol from oxidizing. Also, some studies have shown that resveratrol, which is located in the skins of the grapes can protect against lung, breast and prostate cancer.

Cherries (48 calories per 100grams)

These small fruits are rich in beneficial phytochemicals that can protect the body against cancer cell growth. Cherries have very strong antioxidant properties and can reduce the levels of uric acid and prevent muscle pain after strenuous activity. Additionally, there is some evidence that they can help reduce blood sugar levels in diabetics. This happens probably due the anthocyanins they contain, which may stimulate the pancreas to produce insulin.

Hot peppers (20 calories per 100grams)

The substance that makes them hot, is called capsaicin which helps to prevent coronary heart disease, reduces stress, lowers cholesterol and reduces the risk of thrombosis. Capsaicin also has a strong anti-inflammatory action, especially in cases of chronic arthritis and diabetic neuropathy.

Spices (0 calories)

Spices, like clove and cinnamon powder contain zero calories and are very high in the ORAC list (The higher the score on the list of ORAC units, the stronger the antioxidant capacity).

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