You’ve heard of them. You’ve definitely eaten them. You also know that you need them to be healthy. But what exactly are antioxidants?
I’m not going to go into the medical details because no one wants to feel like they’re in Biology class, but in simple terms… yes they are extremely good for you.
Basically, just like we do, our cells poop. This “poop” is called “free radicals” and whenever the poop builds up too much in our body, it causes what is known as “oxidative stress” which can damage our body. In addition to the natural pooping of cells, these free radicals can also be caused by environmental toxins, like smoking, air pollution, drinking, etc.
Effects of this build up of oxidative stress have implications for developing several diseases such as:
- Heart disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Eye disease
That’s why it’s so important to keep your body healthy by including antioxidants in your diet, because they can help prevent or heal the damage done by oxidative stress. Lucky for you, there are SO many yummy foods that are high in antioxidants! Read on…
1. Dark Chocolate
My favorite one on this list! Dark chocolate is filled with antioxidants such as polyphenols, flavanols, and catechins, all of which have great health benefits. The Harvard T. H Chan School of Public Health suggest to choose chocolate bars with a 70% of higher cacao, as lower percentages usually have more fat and sugar.
Try adding chunks of dark chocolate to your cereal or in a snack mix (like with other nuts or something)
These include blueberries, strawberries, gogi berries, and raspberries – ALL DELICIOUS! Berries contain anthocyanins, which have great antioxidative benefits.
Create a yummy berry salad (and top it with some low-sugar whip cream) or blend it up to make a smoothie.
More specifically, the darker colored grapes – like purple, red, and blue grapes. Like berries, these also contain antocyanins which help reduce oxidative stress.
Grab a snack baggie and fill it up with grapes to snack on throughout the day.
Cherries are yet another fruit filled with antocyanins, to add it to your yummy fruit collection of antioxidants.
Like grapes, you can also just grab a handful of them to snack on since they’re easy to eat.
5. Pomegranate Juice
Pomegranate juice is the OG of antioxidants. It has almost EVERY single type of antioxidant, and it is really delicious too. Be sure to get one that is pure juice and not packed with sugar.
You don’t need to drink the entire bottle to get the antioxidant effects. You can take it like a liquor shot every morning, or just sip on it throughout the day.
6. Green Tea & Black Tea
Another way to start your morning is a nice, hot cup of tea – specifically green or black tea (without milk, since milk can lower the antioxidative effects). Tea is loaded with polyphenols, a certain kind of antioxidant.
Try not to fill it up with sugar. Instead, pour a little bit of honey in it to give it it’s sweetness – honey is really good for you too!
7. Red Wine
Not much of a juice or tea person? Or want something a little bit more fun? Red wine is also loaded with antioxidant polyphenols, more specifically resveratrol, which is good for the heart.
This is a perfect self-care day – get a glass of wine, make your own charcuterie board, and take a nice bath!
Everything I just named are all sweet things to eat, so here’s one that’s savory! The healthiest beans are black, red, pinto, and kidney beans, which are great sources of antioxidants.
Add it to a salad, taco bowl, burrito!
9. Purple Sweet Potatoes
These sweet potatoes are fun to eat because it’s literally bright purple! And they are really good for you, as they contain anthocyanins which have awesome antioxidative properties. They are a little bit more dense and drier than the regular, orange sweet potatoes – but nonetheless still delicious.
You can mash it up or look up really cool recipes on Pinterest!
10. Pecans & Walnuts
Overall, nuts are really healthy for you since they contain healthy fats and nutrients. But pecans and walnuts are the ones that win in this sense. They are loaded with manganese, a mineral that has strong antioxidative effects that help the skin.
You can make a snack mix with berries, dark chocolate (other antioxidants on this list), granola, whatever!
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