No doubt you’ve heard about antioxidants before, but have you ever wondered what they are or how they help you?
Over time, high concentrations of free radicals in your body can cause oxidative stress. This damages your cells and is what researchers believe is causing the illnesses & chronic conditions we’re all fervently trying to avoid.
When you get enough antioxidants in your diet, they go on the hunt for free radicals. The human body does make some antioxidants naturally, but we need more from what we eat to get enough. There are many antioxidants in fruits and vegetables that you’ve probably heard of like vitamins A, C, and E, lycopene, and selenium. The antioxidants are released during the digestive process, go into the bloodstream, and then to the cells.
Experts agree that it’s better to get your antioxidants through food rather than supplements. The more colorful your plate, the better off you will be. You’ll be getting a wide range of antioxidants and other nutritious compounds that will give your body everything it needs to stay healthy.
Here are some excellent antioxidant-rich picks to fill your plate with:
Pick your favorite berry or make a berry mixture. It doesn’t matter which ones you pick, as all of them have superfood status thanks to their antioxidants and fiber. They’re also naturally sweet and refreshing, so enjoy berries on rotation throughout the year.
Keep the cream and sugar out of it, and the antioxidants you get from green tea, and black tea are a great way to drink your way to better health. Even if you are an avid coffee lover, you can fit in one cup of tea a day for the benefits.
Tomatoes have the antioxidant known as lycopene. While they certainly are great fresh (and tasty too!), you’ll make them more bioavailable if you heat them a little. Try making a fresh sauce with fresh tomatoes. Other foods high in lycopene include guava, watermelon, pink grapefruit, and papaya.
Nuts and seeds
Snack on walnuts, almonds, pecans, sunflower seeds, and pistachios to get more antioxidants. Raw or roasted is wonderful — just watch out that they don’t have too much added salt.
The higher the cacao content, the more antioxidants in your chocolate. You could seek out some antioxidant-rich dark chocolate nibs to mix with your nuts and seeds for a handful of homemade trail mix to satisfy your sweet tooth.
There are plenty more antioxidant-rich foods to try. Stone fruits, artichokes, pomegranates, and kale all win big in that department. There are also many herbs and spices from your spice rack that can do the trick.
For example, cloves, cinnamon, oregano, rosemary, thyme, and sage are some popular herbs and spices with high antioxidants levels. These are incredibly delicious this time of year in soups and stews.