Rainbow Diet: Anti-oxidants in Foods

Antioxidants help fight diseases including cancers, blood vessel diseases and
brain damage. Some common antioxidants in our diet are vitamin C, lycopene,
lutein, anthocyanins, flavonoids, and phenolic acids. These compounds contain a
conjugated double bond system for electron absorption that works to balance
the oxidative stress caused by free radicals. By diversifying our fruit and
vegetable intake, we can equip our immune system with sufficient antioxidants
that help prevent illness.


Tomatoes are rich in antioxidants such as vitamin C, lycopene, lutein, and beta-
carotene. Lycopene has been reported in Clinical Nutrition to prevent a
worsening of prostate cancer in men. Lutein and beta-carotene also play
important roles in eye health according to Nutrients. Lycopene becomes more
bioavailable in cooked tomatoes than in raw ones despite the loss of vitamin C
during the cooking process.


Carrots are high in two types of antioxidants: carotenoids and anthocyanins.
Carotenoids help reduce oxidative stress in the retina while anthocyanins rich
diets are suggested to treat atherosclerosis and chronic venous insufficiency.
Similar to tomatoes, the cooking process helps extract more carotenoids from
carrots. Thus, roasted tomato-carrot soup is one recipe to supplement lipid-
based antioxidants in a nutritious diet.


Pineapples contain significant amounts of vitamin C. Just one cup of pineapple
chunks meets the recommended daily intake of vitamin C. Moreover, pineapples
are also rich in antioxidants known as flavonoids and phenolic acids.
Antioxidants help reduce cell damage and inflammation caused by free radicals.
If pineapples are dried properly, a higher nutrient content of flavonoids and
phenolic acids are found in the dried pineapple residues compared with the fresh
ones.