Whether you’re trying to nurture your heart health, prevent cancer, nourish your skin or all of the above, antioxidants can do it all. It must be their free-radical-fighting capabilities. But wait…what exactly does that mean? Does anyone actually know what free radicals are?
The 411 on free radicals:
Free radicals are formed naturally in the body and actually play an important role in many everyday processes, such as exercise and metabolism. But at high concentrations, they can be hazardous to your health, with the potential to cause cell damage that could lead to cancer.
Arming yourself with antioxidants:
Thankfully, free radicals don’t go unchecked by your body. In fact, you naturally make antioxidants to help even out the scales and prevent any damage. But your body can’t do it alone. That’s where the importance of a healthy diet comes in.
Did you know that there are actually hundreds of antioxidants? Many are categorized as phenols, polyphenols and flavonoids. And unlike vitamins, it's not possible to capture them all in a supplement, so boosting the quality of your diet (really) is a must.
Adding antioxidants to your daily menu:
Of course, everyone’s favorite antioxidant source, berries, have some of the highest antioxidant levels of any fresh fruit—so eat up! Kale and spinach top the veggie charts—time for salad?
But it’s important to keep in mind that it’s all about variety. For instance, eating oranges and grapefruits might lower your stroke risk because of their flavonoids, just one type of antioxidant in these fruits.
Keep these foods in mind to add antioxidants to any meal:
· Beta-carotene:carrots, squashes, sweet potatoes
· Lycopene:pink grapefruit, tomatoes, watermelon
· Lutein:most leafy green vegetables
· Selenium:grains, protein sources, nuts, legumes
· Vitamin A:butter, eggs, milk, liver
· Vitamin C:berries, oranges and other citrus, cantaloupe, bell peppers, broccoli, kale, papaya, tomatoes
· Vitamin E:almonds, hazelnuts, other nuts and seeds and their oils
Keep it colorful.
If you remember one thing about antioxidant-rich foods it’s to eat the rainbow. This old adage is still just as true because the each vibrant color of produce indicates a different nutritional makeup.
For more ideas on how to eat healthier, GMC’s Nutrition & Weight Management experts can help. With knowledgeable dietitians who can customize a nutrition plan to meet your unique needs, you’ll enjoy all the great benefits that a healthy diet can provide. Start feeling your best today by setting up a nutrition consultation.