Count yourself blessed if antioxidant foods fall into your favourite food categories. Why, you may ask? Well, then incorporating plenty of foods rich in antioxidants into your diet will be an incredibly easy yet effective way of helping to keep your body healthy.
Antioxidants work within the body to prevent the oxidization of molecules, which causes the production of undesirable chemical bi-products known as free radicals.
When unstable free radicals try to become stable by attaching themselves to cells within the body, they cause damage at a cellular level which can lead to all sorts of complications, including serious degenerative diseases (such as cancer and heart disease) and other symptoms of cellular deterioration such as aging of the skin.
Antioxidants inhibit the oxidization process, and therefore benefit every single cell in your body, from your vital organs through to your skin, hair, bones, eyes, even your brain.
One of the biggest natural sources of antioxidants is fruit, with some fruits being particularly good. Citrus fruits, such as limes, lemons, tangerines, grapefruits and oranges are a good source of antioxidants.
They lend themselves well to being juiced or, in the case of the sharper lemons and limes which you wouldn’t especially want to eat whole, you can use them in dressings and sauces. Fruits are very easy to include in your diet.
Berries are another great source of naturally occurring beneficial dietary antioxidants, as are larger berry type fruits such as pomegranates, figs and tomatoes.
The best way to ensure you get the most benefit from these antioxidant superfoods is to eat them raw (either whole or juiced) and where possible use organic, fresh food rather than canned or frozen. Canned or frozen is better than nothing, but a lot of the nutritional properties are lost as part of these processes.
When it comes to vegetables, the same rules apply when trying to incorporate antioxidant rich superfoods into your diet to optimum effect – go for organic and fresh and eat them raw.
Dark green leafy vegetables, such as spinach and kale, are very rich in antioxidants, as are most brightly or deeply colored vegetables like peppers, carrots, sweet corn and beets.
When it comes to starchy vegetables, sweet potatoes are a superfood too (though for these you can break the rule about eating them raw!).
Whole grain cereals are full of dietary antioxidants, and you can increase your antioxidant consumption by using things like brown rice in your cooking. You can also get a lot of nutritional benefit from beans, which are a food group that contains a lot of antioxidants, especially broad beans and pinto beans.
All whole nuts and seeds are great antioxidant foods, and you can get these either by snacking on the nuts and seeds themselves or by using their oils.
Groundnut oil, sunflower oil, sesame oil and almond oil, to name just a few, contain the antioxidants from the nuts and seeds they are pressed from. Other oils that count as antioxidant superfoods are olive oil and coconut oil.
Other sources of natural antioxidants can be added to your food as flavor enhancing herbs and spices. Garlic is highly beneficial, as are chilies, and many herbs and spices such as cinnamon, cumin, oregano, cloves and saffron contain high levels of antioxidants.
With all of these different superfoods you can see just how easy it is to consume a lot of antioxidant foods every day. By eating plenty of fresh vegetables, drinking fruit juices, cooking with oils, herbs and spices rich in antioxidants and getting whole grains into your meals you can simply and effectively make sure you are getting everything you need to see the vast long term benefits of an antioxidant rich diet.
Take the information from these health articles and start making small changes to your life. You'll see and feel the difference.