Healthy Foods Rich In Antioxidants
Antioxidants are compounds that are produced by our bodies while also being found in certain foods. Antioxidants are important as they can prevent or slow damage to cells caused by harmful molecules, also known as free radicals.
When free radicals accumulate, they can cause oxidative stress, which can damage your DNA along with other important structures within your cells. By eating a healthy diet rich in antioxidants, you can help to increase your blood antioxidant levels to fight oxidative stress and in turn, you can reduce your risk of diseases.
Below we have listed the top 12 healthy foods that are high in antioxidants.
There have been several studies that have shown that oxidative damage can lead to chronic inflammation which can then lead to chronic diseases, even cancer. By introducing more antioxidants into your system, you can protect yourself from oxidative damage.
*To get the most health benefits, try to avoid adding milk or creamers to your green tea, as some studies have shown by doing this, you are reducing the antioxidant value.
Blueberries are packed with nutrients and antioxidants, while also being low in calories. There have been several studies that suggest that blueberries contain the highest amount of antioxidants among all other commonly eaten fruits and veggies.
In other studies, it was shown that antioxidants found in blueberries can delay the decline in brain function that usually happens with age. It is believed that blueberries do this by neutralising harmful free radicals, reducing inflammation, and changing the expression of some genes.
On top of this, the antioxidants found in blueberries have been shown to reduce the risk factors of heart disease, lower blood pressure, and lower LDL cholesterol levels – so if you aren’t already, it might be time to start adding blueberries to your morning smoothies!
Raspberries are a really great source of dietary fiber, vitamin C, manganese and antioxidants.
Studies over the years have linked the antioxidants, along with other components found in raspberries to lower the risks of heart disease and cancer. One study in particular found that the antioxidants in raspberries killed 90% of stomach, colon and breast cancer cells in the sample.
With all this being said, it is important to note that most of the evidence for the health benefits of raspberries is from test-tube studies. More research in humans is needed before recommendations can be made.
Strawberries are probably one of the most popular berries – they are sweet, tasty, and they are a rich source of vitamin C and – you guessed it – rich in antioxidants.
Strawberries contain an antioxidant called anthocyanins, which is what gives strawberries their beautiful red colour, and strawberries that contain a higher amount of anthocyanins tend to be an even brighter red.
There has been a lot of research that shows anthocyanins can help with reducing the risk of heart disease by reducing levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol and raising HDL (good) cholesterol.
Red cabbage, also known as purple cabbage, has a very impressive nutrient profile and is rich in vitamins C, K and A, while also having a very high antioxidant content.
Red cabbage, like strawberries and raspberries, contains anthocyanins which are the group of antioxidants that give red cabbage its colour. As mentioned above, anthocyanins can reduce inflammation, protect against heart disease, and can also reduce the risk of some cancer.
On top of this, red cabbage is a rich source of vitamin C, which acts as an antioxidant within the body, as well as strengthening the immune system and keeping your skin firm.
Beans are one of the best vegetable sources of antioxidants, and some beans – such as pinto beans – contain a particular antioxidant called kaempferol, which has been linked to some impressive health benefits such as reduced chronic inflammation and suppressed cancer growth.
Beans are also very high in fiber, making them great for keeping regular bowel movements.
Luckily for us, dark chocolate is not only delicious, it is also very nutritious! Dark chocolate contains more cocoa than regular chocolate as well as having more minerals and antioxidants.
Pecans are a nut that is native to Mexico and South America, they are also a great source of healthy minerals and fats, while also containing a high amount of antioxidants.
By consuming pecans, you can help to raise the antioxidant levels in your blood. It is important to note, however, that although pecans are a great source of fats, they are also very high in calories, so it is important to eat these yummy nuts in moderation.
Beets, or beetroot, are the roots of a vegetable known as Beta Vulgaris. Beets have a mild taste, while also being a great source of potassium, fiber, iron, folate and antioxidants.
Beets are rich in a group of antioxidants called betalains – these are what give beets their reddish colour and have also been linked to health benefits.
Beets also contain other compounds that may help to suppress inflammation – an example of this is a study that found by taking betalain – capsules which are made from beetroot extract – significantly relieved osteoarthritis pain and inflammation.
Spinach is loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and is incredibly low in calories. Spinach is also a great source of lutein and zeaxanthin which are two antioxidants that can help to protect your eyes from damaging UV light and other harmful light wavelengths, they will also help to combat damage to the eyes that free radicals can cause over time.
By eating a wide variety of the foods in this article, you can boost your blood levels of antioxidants and reap their many health benefits.
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