You may have heard about antioxidants, but do you fully understand what they are or how they can improve our health? Antioxidants are naturally occurring compounds found in many varieties of fruits and vegetables. These compounds help maintain health by protecting the body’s cells from damage resulting from oxidants. Oxidants are beneficial in their own right as they help to fight off harmful bacteria, but too many oxidants can lead to free radical damage, which harms cells and puts a person at risk for illness.
To maintain good health, it’s important that you keep a good balance between antioxidants and oxidants – and in order to do so and prevent free radical damage, you need a steady intake of antioxidants. (Your best defense against the cause of premature aging.)
The good news is, you can easily obtain beneficial antioxidants through the foods you eat – the foods below are all great options.
7 antioxidant-rich foods
Dark chocolate: For some time now, doctors have hailed the benefits of dark chocolate as it is packed with powerful antioxidants. One study in particular from researchers at Harvard found that consuming dark chocolate could offer heart benefits. The key is to consume dark chocolate of 70 percent or higher cocoa.
Kidney beans: All beans, really, pack antioxidants along with protein, and contain little to no fat and cholesterol. A versatile and healthy menu option, beans can easily be added to other dishes or eaten alone.
Raisins: In addition to their high antioxidant content, raisins are known to boost energy, too. Interesting to note, raisins actually contain more antioxidants than grapes, so you may want to keep a pack of raisins handy wherever you go for an energy and antioxidant boost!
Barley: Barley is a good source of antioxidants as it stands, but if you want to reap even more benefits, soak the grains and let them sprout. This way, barley’s antioxidant levels increase and it becomes easier to digest. (Miracle fruit lowers cholesterol in 30 days.)
Broccoli: Numerous studies have been hailing broccoli for its cancer-fighting properties. Broccoli offers other nutrients as well which go on to support overall good health. The problem is, broccoli loses some of its nutrients during cooking, so try to eat it raw or slightly steamed to maximize the benefits.
Tomatoes: Tomatoes contain some of the most powerful antioxidants, which are easily absorbed when tomatoes are cooked.
Walnuts: Walnuts aren’t just a healthy snack, they are also an abundant source of antioxidants.
By consuming these seven antioxidant-rich foods daily, you can ensure that your body has a healthy balance of oxidants and antioxidants in order to prevent free radical damage and help to maintain overall good health in the long run.