It’s well known that antioxidants are incredibly beneficial to maintaining good health.
It’s believed the antioxidants in food can help prevent cancer, reverse or slow aging, boost your immune system, increase your energy levels, and improve heart and other organ health.
Given all we know about antioxidants and their long list of beneficial properties, it’s unfortunate that people aren’t consuming more fruits and veggies, which are the primary sources of antioxidants.
Some experts recommend a minimum of 5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily but say getting 7-10 servings is best.
What Are Antioxidants?
The simplest answer is that antioxidants are the vitamins and minerals found in foods that serve to fight off disease.
You can think of them as natural defense systems that go to war with free radicals.
Yes, antioxidants are our body’s allies.
The more complex answer is that antioxidants like Vitamin C, Vitamin E, selenium, and Vitamin A are found in fruits and vegetables.
By making an effort to add antioxidants to our diet, we can keep our youthful appearance and continue living an energetic lifestyle, and remain healthier longer.
I know antioxidants sound like nature’s fountain of youth.
Antioxidants are, in effect, sponges that soak up the free radicals in our systems.
By fighting the free radicals in our bodies, which are the result of less healthy foods that we eat, alcohol that we drink, and smoke that we're exposed to (whether we smoke cigarettes ourselves or are exposed to second-hand smoke from friends, family members who smoke, neighbors in our apartment buildings or co-workers at the office), goes a long way towards keeping our bodily systems healthy.
Now that I’ve provided you with a simplified overview of what antioxidants are, let’s cover ten ways how to get more of them into your diet.
Breakfast doesn’t have to be a hurried toaster tart or sugary cereal on the way out the door.
Throw a few strawberries, 100% real juice, and yogurt into a blender; pour your delicious smoothie into a cup and get your day started.
You’ve just added one to three servings of antioxidant-rich fruits to your daily intake. Or throw some berries onto your oatmeal.
Say you truly have no time in the morning and usually grab something on the run. Even some of the restaurants have healthy options.
For example; you could order a fruit and yogurt parfait with some apple slices. This simple breakfast could provide you with one to two servings of fruit.
Here’s an easy way to get more antioxidants in your diet. How about a handful of raisins for a snack or some fresh red grapes? Dip some strawberries in yogurt. You’ll feel decadent, but the berries provide the color you’re looking for.
Need crunch, because some people prefer to consume foods that have a firm texture?
How about some baby carrots dipped in hummus? Consider a handful of pecans for crunch and a nice antioxidant boost.
When you become more conscious about adding antioxidants into your daily diet regimen, you’ll be amazed at all of the food options and combinations that are available.
This journey doesn’t have to be boring and tasteless.
Get creative with your healthy snacks, because this will motivate you to learn even more about foods that contain antioxidants.
3)) Lunch and Dinner
Adding a salad to each of your main daily meals can add loads of antioxidants to your diet.
They don’t have to be boring, and they don’t have to be just salad greens.
For instance, if you’re going classic, add some red pepper slices to your green salad, some tomatoes to a Greek salad, or tart cranberries to your field greens.
You could whip up a broccoli salad for lunch, or be adventurous and mix up a rice salad with a mélange of fresh vegetables like string beans, tomatoes, peppers, and red onions.
Eating several salads per day is an easy and delicious way to get more of those free radical-fighting antioxidants into your body.
We all love desserts, because they taste so darn good, but the only problem is that most of them aren’t good for us, and should be eaten in moderation.
However, if you must indulge in your favorite desserts such as a piece of cake, simply add some berries on top.
Berries of all kinds are packed full of antioxidants, especially blueberries.
As a rule of thumb, add berries to any dessert that complements the taste and texture.
The berries themselves could be the dessert without adding them to junk food.
Replace sodas and other sugary drinks with various teas, which boast antioxidant compounds.
Examples of Teas That Are Packed With Antioxidants:
- Green Tea
- Turmeric Tea
- Rose Hip Tea
- Oolong Tea
- Chamomile Tea
- Peppermint Tea
- Black Tea
- Ginger Tea
- Lemon Balm Tea
- Hibiscus Tea
- White Tea
- Chai Tea
That’s just a partial list of the many varieties of antioxidant-rich teas you have available to you.
Teas are an excellent and convenient way to add antioxidants to your diet.
I recommend researching to discover more teas you can try out.
Just make it a fun journey.
6)) Think Outside the Box
It’s no secret that we can get our antioxidant fix from berries, salads, and the like, but researchers say powerful antioxidants can also be found in a variety of unexpected foods, like russet potatoes, artichokes, and small red beans to name a few.
The beans, in fact, may have more antioxidant power than blueberries, experts say.
Can you believe that?
So to your rice salad full of vegetables, add some beans for even more antioxidants.
7)) Cook Lightly
You think you’re being good, preparing vegetables each night for your family’s dinner. But if you’re overcooking the veggies, you’re cooking out a lot of the beneficial properties of the antioxidants.
Steam (don’t boil) vegetables, and stop cooking them when they will have all of their bright color and most of their bite.
Tip: As a rule of thumb, steam your veggies for no more than seven minutes, as this can prevent the destruction of nutrients and the antioxidants contained within.
8)) Plant a Garden
Experts believe that people who plant and harvest vegetables from their own yards are far more likely to eat more fruits and veggies than people who buy their produce from the store.
Folks that invest their time, energy, and money into raising crops appreciate their harvest.
Besides, anyone who goes through the trouble of planting a garden in their yard most likely loves fruits and veggies.
They take pride in their beautiful crops which they manually cultivated.
So plant a garden, watch it grow, and eat the antioxidant-rich fruits (literally) of your labor.
9)) Take Your Healthy Diet on Vacation
Too many of us consider going on vacation an opportunity to take a vacation from everything, including healthy eating.
Think of vacation as a way to be introduced to new foods. For example; you could order an interesting vegetable dish in a restaurant and then pay attention to how the chef prepared the dish.
I’m not saying to go on your trip and deprive yourself.
You can always eat your favorite foods in moderation.
Eating healthy while on vacation can provide you with the energy and antioxidants you need to enjoy it more.
Over-consuming junk food tends to weigh us down, spike our blood sugar levels, and then drop us like a hot rock to where we feel drained out, and void of any energy.
While on vacation, eat plenty of dishes that contain fruits and veggies.
10)) Learn To Cook
If you’re cooking, you’re not opening bags and boxes. Cooking involves scrubbing and peeling vegetables, preparing whole foods, and paying attention to how things are cooked.
If you’re ordering out every night, you’re far less likely to be eating the whole foods and natural fruits and vegetables that provide the base for our antioxidant intake needs.
There is no shortage of healthy cookbooks, which come in many different formats from hardback, paperback, and digital.
Learning to cook is a bit of a learning curve.
However, it has its benefits including providing your body with the nutrients it needs, including antioxidants, and can save you a ton of money by not spending it at restaurants.
Today, we’re living in a very toxic world and antioxidants are a natural defense system in which we can all use to help protect our bodies from harmful free radicals.
Fruits, veggies, and some teas are excellent ways to add more antioxidants to your diet.
As a quick recap, at the molecular and cellular levels, antioxidants serve to deactivate certain particles called free radicals.
In humans, free radicals usually come in the form of O2, the oxygen molecule. The oxygen molecule desires to be oxidized, and this oxidation process can sometimes be carcinogenic.
Free radicals are the natural by-products of many processes within and among cells. They are also created by exposure to various environmental factors, tobacco smoke, and radiation.
Of course, this certainly includes air quality and all the junk we put into our bodies that our immune system is forced to combat.
If allowed to run amok, these free radicals can cause damage to cell walls, cell structures, and genetic material within the cell.
They are the bully on the playground and need to be dealt a firm hand for the resulting damage can eventually lead to disease and ultimately death.
Antioxidants play a key role in cleaning up the destruction caused by these free radicals.
They clean house before free radicals get a chance to harm the body. Researchers have determined that antioxidants are useful in the prevention of carcinogenic effects of oxidation.
I’ve talked a lot about how fruits and veggies are an excellent source of antioxidants.
However, on the flip side, some of the fruits and veggies that we consume no longer have the same amount of nutrients they once did decades ago.
The reason is that the soil on most farmland has been overworked and burned out.
Fruits and veggies that fall off the plant or tree need to decompose so that the nutrients are absorbed back into the soil, but on many occasions, they are removed so that replanting can be accelerated, which leaves the soil void of sufficient amounts of nutrients.
If there are no nutrients in the soil, where will the fruits and veggies get them from?
This is one of the reasons why some fruits and veggies have no taste nowadays.
There’s not a lot that we can do about this situation, except for searching for local farmers that still use the old methods of farming or growing your own fruits and veggies right in your yard.
Another controversial option is to add nutritional supplements to your diet.
There are reputable supplement manufacturers out there; you just have to seek them out.
If you don’t purchase high-quality supplements from a manufacturer that takes purity seriously, you are wasting your hard-earned money, period.
Antioxidants deserve a special place in the area of nutritional supplements and are certainly worth examining closer to see what they are all about and learn how we can implement them into our daily routine.
For your diet, I recommend that you increase the number of fruits, veggies, antioxidant-rich teas, and high-quality nutritional supplements.
This is your best course of action to fight against free radicals.