It seems like everyone is talking about antioxidants, but what exactly are they? Antioxidants are compounds found in certain foods that protect your cells from damage caused by free radicals. Some of these free radicals are produced as a result of toxins in the body and oxidize, leading to cancer. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals which is why they’re so important. Here are some of the top foods available to get the best antioxidant protection.
Berries are one of the most popular and delicious ways to get antioxidants. The more vibrantly colored the berry, the more nutrients and antioxidants it contains. This is why blueberries, strawberries and raspberries are the best sources. Another benefit of berries is that they’re very low in calories. If you’re on the run, you can get the same benefit from a convenient red superfood powder that you can take along anywhere.
Dark Green Vegetables
Another excellent source of powerful antioxidants are dark green vegetables. You already know that vegetables are super low in calories meaning you can eat as many as you like. Filling your diet with spinach, collard greens, kale and broccoli has numerous benefits. Spinach is one of the most nutrient-dense greens you can buy. Kale and broccoli are also incredible foods containing fiber, calcium, vitamin K and antioxidants, so eat plenty every week.
Herbs and Spices
If you like spices, you’re in luck when it comes to antioxidants, plus you can keep them in your pantry for long periods of time. These spices include cloves, allspice and cinnamon. Cloves have the most antioxidants and are found in many Indian dishes made from garam masala, also containing cinnamon. Herbs that possess good levels of antioxidants are peppermint, rosemary and oregano although the dried versions pack more of a punch.
Purple Grapes and Wine
Antioxidants called polyphenols are also abundant in purple grapes. One specific polyphenol called resveratrol is found in red grape skins and is beneficial against the growth of cancerous tumors. This polyphenol is also present in red wine. Of course, this is one situation where more isn’t better as the alcohol in wine can increase cancer risk, so drink no more than one glass of wine per day. Grape juice also contains antioxidants, but may also contain a lot of sugar, so be sure to check the label.
Nuts have many benefits such as healthy fats and protein, but walnuts are a real game-changer. Walnuts are number one when it comes to antioxidants because they contain high amounts of polyphenols. They prevent damage against bad cholesterol, protecting the body from atherosclerosis which is a buildup in the arteries. Walnuts also contain omega-3 fatty acids and are beneficial for healthy blood pressure and brain function.
Soothing Green Tea
There’s no doubt you’ve heard about all the benefits of green tea such as its ability to increase fat-burning metabolism and prevent cardiovascular disease. Green tea is also rich in antioxidants called flavonoids which may protect the body against cancer. When free radicals oxidize, it leads to inflammation which green tea can fight. Green tea has been linked to reducing incidents of breast, colon and bladder cancers, just to name a few.
Decadent Dark Chocolate
One of the most satisfying ways to get a dose of antioxidants is through dark chocolate. Dark chocolate contains polyphenols that stop free radicals in their tracks before they create oxidative stress. This can prevent heart problems, Alzheimer’s disease and cancer. To reap the benefits from dark chocolate, look for bars containing at least 70% cocoa. Although dark chocolate is good for you, it’s also high in fat, so keep your serving size in check.
Antioxidants have been proven to have many disease-fighting properties and they’re so easy to get. By eating berries, walnuts, dark chocolate and adding herbs and spices to your food, you’ll get a dose of antioxidants that will take your health to the next level.