In health-aware circles, there has been more and more talk of antioxidants in recent years and the amazing benefits they have for your body. But many people still do not have a clear understanding of just what antioxidants are, what benefits they offer and what foods contain them.
The good news is that even if you don’t know, you probably eat some of them already!
Advantages of Antioxidants
Antioxidants are molecules that protect the cells in your body from being damaged by free radicals. In practical terms, that means they reduce your risk of heart disease, neurological disease, boost your immune system and reduce the risk of cancer.
You can absorb some antioxidants through widely available and easy-to-take supplements, but research has shown that antioxidants have a greater effect on your body when eaten as they naturally occur in foods; so to accrue the maximum benefit for your body, you should learn which foods contain significant levels of antioxidants and eat more of them.
Foods Rich in Antioxidants
Although most people don’t really know which foods contain antioxidants, the truth is that many common foods are very rich in them. Eating an antioxidant-rich diet might require some adjustments, but they are likely to be smaller changes than you might think. Here is a list of foods that contain very high doses of antioxidants:
- Raisins/dark grapes
- Small Red Beans
- Red Kidney Beans
- Black Beans
- Russet Potatoes
- Nuts (especially pecans and raw nuts)
Getting More Antioxidants
There are endless ways to incorporate antioxidants into your diet, such as mixing berries into a cereal or a smoothie, making a salad that includes spinach and raw nuts or making a stew with beans and potatoes. But rather than learning one or two new recipes to make by rote, it’s best to be creative with your diet.
Each food contains a different mixture of antioxidants, and eating a varied and balanced diet helps you to get other things you need, like fiber, protein and vitamins. So plan out a meal or two, pick up a few of these foods the next time you go shopping, and then experiment with other ways of eating them for the rest of the week.
The health benefits offered by antioxidants are important, but another excellent thing about them is that they are found in so many great-tasting natural foods. The diversity of antioxidants and the foods they are found in offers a strong argument against boring and restrictive diets. To maximize the antioxidant content and variety of your diet, you’re almost required to eat a balanced and surprisingly appetizing diet. After all, until the discovery of antioxidants, who ever argued that eating more chocolate would keep you healthy?
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About the author:
Erica Moss is the community manager for the online nursing masters programs at Georgetown University. She also enjoys dabbling in photography and connecting with new people.