We all know that eating foods high in antioxidants are healthy for the body. Studies have shown that eating foods high in antioxidants can actually reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and slow the aging process. But with our “fast-food” lifestyles, it is much easier to consume foods laden with oil than more nutritious foods high in antioxidants. What exactly are antioxidants? Antioxidants fight free radicals, which cause damage to the body’s cells, and environmental effects such as pollutants, alcohol, and even UV-rays can accelerate cellular destruction caused by free radicals. In order to combat these harmful compounds, it is essential that we eat the right foods to protect our bodies. Consuming foods high in antioxidants will ensure that the body has the necessary tools to neutralize free radicals. There are quite a few compounds that can act as antioxidants, but the most predominant are Vitamins C and E, selenium, and beta carotene.
Most fruits, vegetables, and whole grains have high levels of antioxidants. The following is a list of foods high in antioxidants:
Vitamin C – Guava, Papaya, mangoes, cantaloupe, pineapple, tomatoes, red and yellow peppers, dark green vegetables (spinach, asparagus, green peppers, Brussel sprouts, broccoli, watercress), citrus fruits and their juices, and berries.
Vitamin E – Dark leafy green vegetables, beans, lentils, split peas, sweet potatoes, soybeans, oatmeal, brown rice, wheat germ, wheat, whole grains, seeds, nuts, and oils (cottonseed, safflower, corn, soybean, olive).
Selenium – Vegetables, whole grains, wheat germ, tuna, seafood, salmon, onions, molasses, garlic, dairy products, chicken, eggs, brown rice, oatmeal, brewer’s yeast, and brazil nuts.
Beta Carotene – Mangoes, cantaloupe, apricots, red and yellow peppers, carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, kale, yellow and green fruits and vegetables.
While eating healthy may not be as convenient as heading to your local burger joint, the next time you pick up that juicy burger ask yourself, “Should not I be eating foods high in antioxidants instead?”