Antioxidants: Eat The Rainbow!
Antioxidants are a hot topic in the world of nutrition, and understandably so, as everyone is trying to stay healthy in these crazy times.
What is an antioxidant? Antioxidants are compounds that inhibit oxidation (think rusting) which produces free radicals which if they become too high levels, can cause cell damage in the body, and ultimately lead to diseases such as diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. Your body can generate its own antioxidants, but with many lifestyle, stress, and environmental factors such as air pollution, smoking, alcohol, high blood sugar levels, and bacterial or viral infections, to name a few, it’s probably a good idea to get as many antioxidants on your plate as you can.
Most people have probably heard that pomegranates and blueberries are the best antioxidant foods, but red kidney beans actually have more antioxidants per serving than a wild blueberry, not to mention other nutrition factors such as protein and fiber.
But why limit to just these “superfoods”? What other foods are high in antioxidants? For starters, there is broccoli, kale, spinach, blackberries, artichoke hearts, grapes, plums, russet potatoes, and even teas like black and especially green tea, to name just a few.
The truth is, there are many common foods high in antioxidants, and you should not limit yourself when adding these foods to your healthy diet. You should eat your colors!! Eating foods of a variety of colors will contain different types of antioxidants which will also provide other nutritious benefits. For example, the yellow-orange color family of carrots, sweet potatoes, and peaches help boost our immune system. The green family of broccoli and spinach provide good sources of iron, calcium and fiber. The purple-red family of pomegranates, plums and berries help reduce inflammation. So, it’s important to eat foods from all color groups to get the full benefits of antioxidants and nutrients and keep your body as healthy as possible!
For the best nutritional benefits, try to eat these foods raw, but you can steam or roast as well, and if you are just not a “veggie fan” for instance, then try adding them to your protein smoothie to really up its nutritional value.
If you would like to learn more about nutrition, or you want to get started working on new healthy habits, book a free nutrition info session with one of the nutrition coaches today!!