You have probably heard of antioxidants and may even be aware of what antioxidant foods do to help keep you healthy. If not, then simply put, antioxidants protect your cells from oxidation and the damage that free radicals create in the body. Our cells are under constant attack by damaging, unstable molecules called free radicals. Basically free radicals are molecules in cells that are weakened to the point that they lose an electron. This weakness is caused by such things as toxins in the body, exposure to UV rays, chlorinated water, pollution, and overcooked, fried and processed foods. These free radicals then go around taking electrons from other molecules and creating more free radicals. Free radicals damage the body, including cells, enzymes, and DNA, causing negative effects such as signs of aging, pain, cancer, arthritis and inflammation, emphysema, bronchitis and other lung problems, heart disease and other chronic diseases. Antioxidants can help you with a variety of age related health conditions such as wrinkles, cancer, heart disease, macular degeneration Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, creaky joints, aches and pains, tiredness, and cataracts. Vitamins such as A, C and E, selenium and carotenoids are antioxidants you can get from fruits and veggies. Phytonutrients, such as catechins, that come from plants are another source of antioxidant protection. Our bodies do make some of their own antioxidants such as coenzyme Q 10, but aging, stress, and disease can all interfere with the production of this vital coenzyme making supplementation a consideration. Bright colorful vegetables and fruits like tomatoes, blueberries, carrots, and leafy greens are good antioxidant foods to include in your diet. Some foods are higher in antioxidants than others. Here are some of the antioxidants foods and supplements that are high in antioxidants and won’t strain your food budget.
Let’s start off with some good news. Your morning cup of coffee is actually good for you as it is loaded with antioxidants. The Journal of Nutrition has reported findings from a study warning that non-dairy creamers may interfere with your body absorbing antioxidants, so you may want to avoid adding those to your coffee. And of course if you can do without sugar that is best and if you absolutely can’t, then go for a natural sweetener.
If you are not a coffee fan and are a tea drinker instead, there’s still good news for you. Tea is very closely rated to coffee in antioxidant value. Green tea in particular is very high in catechin polyphenols that give you a big antioxidant punch. Studies from Japan have reported women drinking five or more cups of green tea daily show a 30% reduction in risk of heart disease related deaths.
Tomatoes which contain lycopene that can aid in the fight against free radical damage to white blood cells with its antioxidant properties. Lycopene also can help protect skin from sun damage and is an anticancer agent. To help your body absorb lycopene even better you can add a healthy fat such as olive oil to your tomato dishes.
Black rice is an antioxidant food that is less expensive than blueberries but just as high in antioxidants. Anthocyanins are the secret to black rice that give it its antioxidant power.
Whole Food Botanicals and Mushroom Supplement
This whole food supplement is based on powerful botanicals, mushrooms and algae that address the unique nutritional needs of different systems of the body. In convenient, take-on-the-go packets, you get the cellular nutrition and antioxidant power of the medicinal mushrooms reishi, cordyceps, maitake, shiitake, turkey tail, and Agaricus blazei, as well as AFA bluegreen algae, astragalus, beta glucan, ubiquinol (active form of CoQ10), American ginseng, resveratrol, polyphenols from olives, and natural antioxidants such as wild blueberry, green tea, and carnosine and more.
Raspberries, blueberries, blackberries and strawberries are all good antioxidant foods. Fresh berries of course are always the best food choice so when in season consider buying extra and freezing for later months. If you don’t have fresh, then go with frozen over canned.
Sweet potatoes are high in beta-carotene and have phytonutrients that are good for healthy eyes and hearts. The body takes beta-carotene from foods and converts it into Vitamin A which is an antioxidant. Additionally, they provide carbohydrates needed for energy production and fiber.
Beans such as kidney, pinto, black and navy are rich sources of antioxidants and have the added benefits of fiber, iron, potassium, zinc and folic acid. Most people are deficient in folic acid, which is vitamin B9, and some experts say folic acid is the most common vitamin deficiency in the world. Dried beans are usually easy to find, inexpensive and are a healthier choice than canned which may have a chemical lining in the can.
Broccoli is one of the super vegetables with vitamin C, calcium, phytonutrients like sulforaphane and a variety of other vitamins and minerals. There are so many ways to fix broccoli from raw to steamed to adding in casseroles and stir fry that you never have to get bored with this high antioxidant veggie.
Whole Food Supplement With Wild Elements of Water, Earth and Forest
This supplement gives you convenient packets of whole food supplements with superfoods from the water, Earth and forests. From the forests come organically grown mushrooms from wild spores, from the Earth comes sprouts and grasses with phytonutrients, enzymes, calcium, magnesium, B vitamins, folate, and fiber with the antioxidants in a form the body can easily absorb, and from the water dulse, kelp, fucoidan, Ecklonia cava, bladderwrack, Dunaliella salina, spirulina, chlorella and AFA bluegreen algae for a wide array of rich minerals and phytonutrients.
Garlic has vitamins A, B and C as well as selenium, iodine, potassium, iron, calcium, zinc and magnesium. It also has allicin that has antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties and has been found useful in lowering blood pressure, lowering cholesterol levels and in treating various heart related conditions such as atherosclerosis (hardening of arteries).
As you can see there are lots of delicious ways to get the antioxidant protection you need to protect your cells from damage and repair the damage done to them from free radicals. Hopefully this list of high antioxidant foods will give you some ideas of things to add to your diet for optimal nutritional health.
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