Antioxidants are one of the currently hip things on the health food scene. They help prevent cell damage that could lead to cancer or heart disease. They also fight free radicals, which are a cellular by-product that causes aging by damaging the DNA. If you’re looking at “right now” benefits, they help your immune system, too! The good news? There’s no need for expensive and complicated nutritional supplementation! While it might sound hard to get enough of them, foods high in antioxidants are really just a few ingredient swaps away!
Step 1: Check your basics. Some easy food substitutions can really make a big difference. Here are the some of the most antioxidant-rich foods within regularly used household staples. • Fruits: Sweet cherries, pomegranate, grapes (and wine), red guava, apples (leave the peal on!), and plums. • Beans: Red, kidney, pinto and black beans. • Potatoes: Russet potatoes. • Nuts: Walnuts, pecans and hazelnuts. • Tea: Green and black tea.
Step 2: Throw some color into your salad! Try adding more of these vegetables to your diet not just to improve your health, but to up the taste a notch, too! Tomatoes are rich in antioxidants (including cancer-risk reducing lycopene), but so are radishes, carrots, red bell peppers, broccoli, artichokes and zucchini.
Step 3: Eat more berries. Açai berries are currently the it-berry, and it is the fruit with the most antioxidants. But you don’t have to be that exotic! Cranberries, blueberries and blackberries are all excellent sources of antioxidants.
Step 4: Spice up your life! Spices and herbs are surprisingly full of antioxidants. Some even beat out the most antioxidant rich fruits in content! Try adding some sage, thyme, rosemary, oregano, marjoram, cumin, ginger, dill, or tarragon to your next dinner. Also, cinnamon and peppermint have spectacular levels. And, of course, there is garlic. Try sticking to fresh garlic – it has one and a half times the power of the dried variety!
Step 5: Indulge your chocolate craving Chocolate! The darker, the better. Cocoa is an antioxidant super-force. It has almost twice the amount of red wine and up to three times as much as green tea! Eat dark chocolate covered berries for a delicious treat with an extra boost.