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Antioxidant Foods That Must Be a Part of Your Diet

Chances are that you have heard the term antioxidants. In fact, you likely already know that they are good for you and something that you should be including in your diet. However, you may not know exactly what the term antioxidant means or what exactly that they do. Anti means against and oxidant refers to something that will chemically combine with oxygen. This means that antioxidants prevent oxidation. When there are free radicals within the body they can cause a chain reaction that causes damage to the cells. Antioxidants will neutralize free radicals through the donation of an electron. This makes both the free radical and the antioxidant stable so no chain reactions will begin. This is why it is important to add foods that are rich in antioxidants to your diet. Here are 25 antioxidant foods to help get you started.

1. Broccoli

Your mom knew what she was doing when she told you to eat your broccoli. Broccoli is considered to be a superfood as it has a ton of vitamins and other nutrients to help keep your body healthy. There is also a good amount of fiber and protein found in broccoli. Getting protein from vegetable sources is good for your overall nutrition. In addition, broccoli is also a great source of antioxidants.

Broccoli contains a good amount of antioxidants that can help to prevent disease. One of the best things about broccoli is that it is a great side dish for any meal. It can be eaten raw or steamed, and it can even be included in many healthy main dishes. This makes it easy to add to your diet. In fact, the more research that is done on broccoli, the healthier it is found to be. So listen to your mom and eat your broccoli!

 

2. Apricots

When you walk through the produce section there is a good chance that you simply walk right by the apricots. However, you really should stop and put some in your cart. When you eat an apricot you will get a decent amount of both Vitamin A and C. However, the most impressive thing about apricots is the high amount of lycopene. Lycopene is the antioxidant that is often heard about in relation to the amount found in tomatoes.

The simple color of apricots indicates that the fruit contains this powerful antioxidant. While apricots do not have as much lycopene as tomatoes it is definitely a fruit that should be added to your regular diet. Try apricots plain or added to a fun fruit salad. There are many great ways to eat this sweet fruit and your body is going to rejoice at the nutrients that you are providing it.

 

3. Raspberries

One of the top berries that you can eat if you are looking to add some antioxidants to your diet is raspberries. Raspberries have an extremely high amount of anthocyanins and phenols. Each of these antioxidants is known for its anti-cancer benefits. In addition, these antioxidants have anti-inflammatory properties. If you are suffering from excessive heartburn or have other issues associated with inflammation, it is a good idea to add some raspberries to your diet as they can help with these symptoms.

When purchasing raspberries it is best to choose organic berries. The chemicals and pesticides that are often used on non-organic raspberries can actually negate or counteract the antioxidant content of the berries as they will introduce free radicals into the body. This is exactly what you are trying to avoid, which is why it is important to choose organically and if possible locally grown berries that have not been sprayed or altered with chemicals of any kind.

 

4. Cherries

When you hear about fruits that are high in antioxidants, chances are that you immediately think of blueberries. However, while blueberries do rank as one of the highest amounts of antioxidants per ounce, cherries have nearly as high of a rank. For this reason, cherries should be considered on the same level as blueberries and should be added to your diet if you are looking to increase your intake of antioxidants.

Cherries contain phytonutrients and they are in a form, which can be easily absorbed by the body. When possible it is best to buy cherries that are organic. It is also best to eat cherries raw for the best benefits. Cherry juice that is organic can also provide the same nutritional benefits. While you may get benefits from baking or cooking cherries, a lot of the nutrients will be depleted during the cooking process.

 

5. Watermelon

One look at the redness of a watermelon and it is easy to see that they are full of antioxidants. Watermelon is a great summertime treat that offers a large antioxidant content. Lycopene, which is the same antioxidant that provides tomatoes with their color is what makes a watermelon a smart summertime snack. Not only will you get a good dose of antioxidants from eating watermelon, but you will also get a ton of minerals and vitamins in each serving that you eat.

Make sure that you keep your portion size of watermelon small, because this fruit also has a good amount of sugar and can spike the glucose levels in your blood. While it is not known whether a seedless watermelon or a seeded watermelon offers more antioxidants, but since seeded watermelons are often a deeper red color it is suggested that they have a higher concentration of lycopene.

 

6. Artichokes

Artichokes have a great amount of antioxidants. In fact, they rank as high as many fruits that are popular for having high antioxidant values such as cherries, blueberries, and raspberries. It is important to note that how you eat artichokes is important. Artichoke and spinach dip is not the best nutritional option, even though both spinach and artichokes have a high amount of antioxidants.

Instead, consider throwing some artichokes on the grill. They make a great side dish or can even be the main dish of any meal. The meatier roman style are larger and has more of a stem, which provides even more nutrients. These types of artichokes are great for salad toppers. If you add them to a spinach or kale salad you will be filling up on a ton of antioxidants in a single meal and your body is going to thank you for it.

 

7. Oranges

When you think of oranges your mind will likely go to the amount of vitamin C that this fruit contains. In fact, chances are that you have taken a vitamin C supplement at some point in time as a way to help fight off a cold or other illness. The truth is, vitamin C is a wonderful antioxidant that is known for helping to boost the immune system.

While taking a vitamin C supplement offers one way to get this antioxidant into your body, a better option is to simply eat foods that are high in this vitamin. Eating oranges are a great way to make sure that your body is getting enough vitamin C and helping to ensure that your immune system stays healthy. Oranges are a great snack during the day as they offer a great pick me up. In addition, they can be used as a carb to balance out a meal.

 

8. Spinach

Eat your spinach! There are many health benefits provided by this green leafy vegetable. Spinach offers a number of nutrients. It contains high amounts of protein and fiber, which can help your digestive system. In addition, spinach has a high amount of antioxidants. Beta carotene is one of the nutrients found in spinach and it can help with your eyesight and can also help to fend off any damage that has been done by any free radicals.

The great thing about spinach is that it can be eaten in a number of different ways. You can use it as a base for a salad or even mix it up in a smoothie. If you do not like the taste of spinach, try adding it to one of your favorite recipes that uses other seasonings and ingredients to make the taste more palatable to you. There are tons of ways to use spinach and cooked or raw, it offers a great many health benefits.

 

9. Cranberries

Many people tend to only think about eating cranberries during the holiday season. However, it is a good idea to add them to your diet throughout the year. Cranberries have a high amount of antioxidants. In addition, they are a fairly versatile food that can be prepared in many different ways. You should avoid dried cranberries as they tend to have a lot of sugar added.

Sugar is known to help free radicals form, which means that eating a food that have a high amount of sugar is counterproductive when you are trying to add antioxidants to your diet. If you do not like the tart taste of the fruit, you can offset it by adding them to other berries and fruits that are sweeter. Adding other fruits and berries can also increase the amount of antioxidants that you are consuming, so it is really a win/win.

 

10. Kidney Beans

While many foods on this list are fruits, there are several vegetables and spices that have high amounts of antioxidants as well. Kidney beans are a good example of an antioxidant-rich vegetable. Kidney beans have a high amount of minerals and vitamins that will affect the antioxidants in the body. Red beans can have the same effect.

The main reason that kidney beans are on this list is because of the high amount of manganese. Manganese is important for helping the body to produce and to maintain its level of antioxidants. Beans can be used as a side dish, in a main course, and they can even be added to a salad. No matter how you decide to eat them, it is important to make sure that you add some kidney or red beans to your diet because of their high nutritional value.

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