What are antioxidants, and why are they good for us? Antioxidants are natural substances that can limit, or stop the damage free radicals wreak on our bodies, basically stabilizing the free radicals. Preventing further damage to our cells, protecting and even reversing any damage caused by oxidation—that sounds pretty good right? What’s even better is that antioxidant rich foods also happen to be packed with vitamins and minerals. Now where can I find antioxidant rich foods, and which ones pack the most punch?
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1. Dark Green Vegetables
Lettuce, leeks, kale, broccoli, collard greens—oh my! Incorporate one or 2 of these leafy greens in a meal, or throw them all into an action-packed salad of awesomeness.
These green machine veggies are good to keep at the forefront when grocery shopping. Kale, broccoli, leeks, and collard greens are brimming with cancer fighting properties—such as vitamins A, C, E and calcium.
2. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are loaded with much more goodies than regular white potatoes. They also come armed with calcium and a whopping amount of vitamin A.
Butternut and acorn squash are nutrient dense and contain phytochemicals as well as lots of vitamin A and C. Carrots are another orange veggie that’s also rich in vitamin A.
3. Red Berries
Berries are basically Mother Nature’s healthy candy. Bite sized and fully loaded with wonderful things for your body. Berries, like strawberries and raspberries in particular, contain a phytochemical known as ellagic acid.
Ellagic acid is linked to protecting you against cancer causing agents in the environment, and diet. Cranberries are also considered an amazing berry that’s great for cleaning out the kidneys and bladder.
Blueberries are linked to helping reduce inflammation, as well as to preventing cells from damage. These dark little berries contain all of the important vitamins and minerals to boost and strengthen the immune system.
Also blueberries contain phytochemicals to help protect from cancer-causing outsiders—such as free radical damage.
Concord grapes have one of the highest levels of antioxidants compared to any other fruit! Also loaded with a fair share of cancer-fighting phytochemicals, grapes are also linked to warding off heart disease.
Dark skinned grapes—of the purple and red variety—are considered to have higher phytochemical concentrations compared to green grapes. Grapes also come bear minerals and vitamins, like selenium and vitamin C.
This particular nut ranks the highest in the nut category for antioxidants. Of course walnuts also contain protein, vitamins, and omegas. Walnuts have been associated with improved cognitive function.
Perhaps the most “nutty” benefit of walnuts is that they contain natural anti-inflammatory properties, thanks to high amounts of vitamin E. People tend to avoid nuts due to their high fat content. However eating nuts has not been associated with weight gain, and they tend to fill you up quick so you don’t over eat them.
One of the oldest known fruits out there, the pomegranate is loaded with red little gems inside, or seeds. It’s the pomegranate’s seeds that are loaded with the antioxidant good stuff, according to Washington D.C. based nutritionist and author, Robyn Webb.
Webb states that a single pomegranate contains half of the daily-recommended vitamin C and pantothenic acid (B5), nutrients linked to preventing muscle cramps and insulin resistance.