Antioxidants have the power to protect you from disease and slow the aging process, as they fight the free radicals in your body that can harm your cells. If your antioxidant levels are low, oxidative stress can occur, making your susceptible to many illnesses including heart disease and cancer. Therefore, in order to keep your body healthy and your immune systems strong, you must consume an abundance of antioxidants on a daily basis. These powerhouses can be found in many fruits and vegetables, and common antioxidants include vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, beta-carotene, flavonoids and
Polyphenols. Antioxidant food is the best and first line of defense to protecting your body against increasing free radicals (toxins) . Whole, plant-based foods (unprocessed or minimally processed) such as grains, fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds and unrefined oils are terrific sources of anti-oxidants.
Some foods are extremely high in antioxidant content. It is recommended that these foods are consumed on a regular basis to reverse the signs of aging and to help prevent, and even reverse various disease processes such as cancer and heart disease, plus reduce blood pressure.
The 5 Best Antioxidant Rich Foods
- Berries – In addition to being deliciously sweet, berries such as raspberries, blueberries and strawberries offer an abundance of antioxidant capacity. Blueberries, raspberries and blackberries are rich in proanthocyanidins, antioxidants that can help prevent cancer and heart disease. Eat them frozen in a morning smoothie, toss a handful over your morning yogurt or cereal or enjoy them as an afternoon snack.
- Broccoli – Broccoli definitely takes the gold medal for most nutritious vegetable. This cruciferous vegetable contains more vitamin C than an orange and has more calcium than a glass of milk. In addition to minerals and vitamins, broccoli is filled with disease-fighting chemicals called phytonutrients. Sulforaphane, a phytonutrient found in broccoli, has been shown to lower the risk of many types of cancers. Try steaming or boiling broccoli and seasoning with basil, lemon or salsa for a delicious side dish.
- Garlic – Garlic is used around the world as a delicious flavouring agent for any dish. The health benefits of garlic have been well touted for centuries, and raw garlic has been used a natural antibiotic to kill off some strains of harmful bacteria. Garlic is also useful for decreasing blood pressure and cholesterol, removing heavy metals from the body, preventing cancer and acting as an antifungal and antiviral agent. One clove of garlic contains vitamin A, B and C, selenium, iodine, potassium, iron, calcium, zinc and magnesium.
- Green Tea – Green Tea contains high concentrations of catechin polyphenols. These compounds work in the body with other chemicals to heighten levels of fat oxidation and thermogenesis (a state created in the body by burning fat as fuel). On average, you should try to consume a minimum of three cups of green tea per day for weight loss effects. Green tea has also been shown to be preventative against cancer, heart disease and high cholesterol.
- Tomatoes – Tomatoes are by far the richest source of a powerful anticancer agent called lycopene. In fact, research has shown lycopene to be an even more powerful disease fighter than vitamin E and beta carotene. Lycopene needs fat for optimal absorption to occur. Therefore, putting the healthy fat olive oil in your spaghetti sauce is an excellent trick to increase your lycopene levels. Start including more tomatoes in your diet in the form of sliced, whole, canned, stewed or sauced tomatoes or tomato paste.
You can also include red grapes, spinach, carrots, whole grains and dark chocolate into your food choices to offer additional antioxidant content. While nothing can guarantee the prevention of cancer or other illnesses, by consuming a diet rich in antioxidants, you are putting up a fight against these diseases. You owe it to your body to do everything in your power to keep it healthy, so indulge in some antioxidant-rich foods today.
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