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Choose These Antioxidant Rich Foods for your Health Benefits

 

We all need antioxidants as they are the substances that inhibit oxidation by counteracting the deterioration of stored food products or by removing potentially damaging oxidizing agents in a living organism (reactions promoted by oxygen, peroxide and/or free radicals).

Antioxidants help to neutralize those harmful free radicals, preventing the potential negative effects on health.

Examples include food-based substances such as beta-carotene, lycopene and vitamin C. 

Why are antioxidants so important?

  • They help to slow down signs of aging, including of the skin, eyes, tissue, joints, heart and brain.
  • They lead to a healthier, more youthful, glowing skin.
  • They reduce the risk of serious illness.
  • They provide detoxification support.
  • They can mean a longer life span.
  • They help protect against heart disease and stroke.
  • They can mean less risk for cognitive problems, such as dementia.
  • They can reduce the risk for vision loss or disorders, like macular degeneration and cataracts.

There are many different types of antioxidants, including several antioxidant vitamins, minerals and polyphenols with most "whole foods" including a mix of the best antioxidants, making it easy to maximize the potential health benefits - and fit a range of vitamins for the immune system into your diet.

 

Here are the top antioxidants

  • Goji berries
  • Wild blueberries
  • Dark chocolate
  • Pecan nuts
  • Boiled artichokes
  • Elderberry 
  • Kidney beans
  • Cranberries
  • Blackberries
  • Cilantro

Followed by:

  • Tomatoes
  • Carrots
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Pomegranates
  • Strawberries
  • Kale
  • Broccoli
  • Grapes or red wine
  • Squash
  • Wild-caught salmon

For optimum health benefits, try to consume at least three to four servings daily of these antioxidant-rich foods.

 

There are also antioxidant herbs and more to add to your diet

  • Cloves
  • Cinnamon
  • Oregano
  • Turmeric
  • Cocoa
  • Cumin
  • Parsley
  • Basil
  • Ginger
  • Thyme

Other antioxidant-rich herbs include garlic, cayenne pepper and green tea.  Your health can benefit if you can take two to three servings of any of these herbs every day.

 Sources:

Linetzky Waitzberg, D. Nutrition in Clinical Practice, 2009; vol 24(4): pp 487-499.

Harris, W. Journal of Nutrition April 2009; vol 139(4): pp 804S-819S.

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, January 2006; vol 83(1): pp 124-131.

Song, Y. Journal of Nutrition, September 2009; vol 139(9): pp 1626-1631.

Charles Stephensen, PhD, research scientist, USDA Western Human Nutrition Research Center, University of California, Davis.