Antioxidants are currently very hip 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 supplementation! While it might sound hard to get enough of them, they’re really just a few ingredient swaps away!
Step one: Check your basics
Some easy food substitutions can really make a big difference. Some of the most antioxidant-rich foods can be found within regularly used household staples! Try to maximize your use of these foods while cooking. Swapping your almonds for some walnuts could make a huge difference!
Fruits: By switching your daily banana or orange every once in a while, you can reap extra antioxidant benefits. Sweet cherries, pomegranate, grapes, red guava, and plums all are excellent sources. Apples can be as well, as long as you leave the peel on!
Beans: Next time you’re craving Mexican food, pass on the refried beans. Red, kidney, pinto and black beans all are great sources antioxidants and they have less fat than their refried cousins.
Potatoes: No need for anything difficult here! Stick to good old Russet potatoes. They are the potatoes with the most antioxidants.
Nuts: As much as possible, use pecans, hazelnuts and especially walnuts. In addition to their antioxidant properties, walnuts contain high levels of omega 3 fatty acids, which are vital to your health!
Tea: Green tea is touted for its antioxidant powers, and it’s true that they do have high levels! But if you crave variety, black tea does as well.
Step two: 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 three: Eat more berries Acai berries are currently the it-berry, and it is indeed 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 four: 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 five: 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.
It’s not necessary to do all of these things to have the healthy cells that antioxidants promote. Just try following one of the above suggestions every day, and you will soon be amazed at easy it is to make choices that are good for your body!