You’ve probably heard of antioxidants and how they are healthy for you. But do you really know what they are and how they work? Antioxidants are molecules that are naturally produced in your body and found in some foods. Their job is to protect your cells by fighting off free radicals.
Free radicals are harmful compounds that can cause cell damage, disease, illness, and aging. They have been linked to cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. When free radicals build up inside of your body, they can cause oxidative stress, which can damage your cells and DNA.
Thankfully, something as simple as a healthier diet with antioxidant rich foods can prevent oxidative stress and reduce the harmful risk that free radicals have on your body and cells. Below are 5 antioxidant rich foods to add into your diet.
Strawberries, raspberries, and especially blueberries are a great source of antioxidants. These berries are rich in antioxidants called anthocyanins, which have anti-inflammatory effects on the body.
Anthocyanins have also been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, and delayed brain function associated with aging. A handful of berries for snack time or a sweet treat after a meal is a quick and easy antioxidant boost for your body.
Pecans are packed with more antioxidants than any other nut. They are a great source of vitamin A, vitamin E, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, several B vitamins and zinc.
Pecans can be enjoyed for breakfast sprinkled on top of oatmeal, pancakes, waffles, yogurt, or cereals. They can also add a great crunch to salads, veggies, and proteins when coated with them before baking. It only takes about 1 ounce of pecans to reap the antioxidant benefits.
3. Dark Chocolate
Chocolate lovers rejoice! Chocolate is actually healthy...well dark chocolate. It has more cocoa, minerals, and antioxidants than any other chocolate. The antioxidants in dark chocolate have been linked to less inflammation and reduced risk of heart disease.
Dark chocolate can be enjoyed on its own or easily added to baked goods in place of any chocolate chip the recipe calls for.
Beans are an inexpensive vegetable source that you can add to your diet to boost your antioxidants. They contain an antioxidant called kaempferol which has been linked to reduced inflammation in the body and suppressed cancer growth.
Beans can be added to soups, stews, casseroles, and salads. Cooked beans can also be added to meatballs, burgers, or pureed as a base for dips and spreads.
5. Purple Cabbage
Purple cabbage is rich in Vitamin K and A. Just like raspberries and strawberries, it also contains anthocyanins. Purple cabbage is also packed with Vitamin C which acts as an antioxidant in the body and strengthens the immune system.
Pictured: Peanut Chicken & Asian Slaw
Purple cabbage can be eaten raw, stir fried, or boiled.
Antioxidants are naturally made in your body and can also come from some foods. They can protect your body from free radicals which can build up in your body and cause oxidative stress resulting in cell damage, illness, disease, and aging.
Fortunately adding antioxidant rich foods into your diet can boost your antioxidant levels and neutralize free radicals.