7 delicious foods full of health‑boosting antioxidants
Wednesday, July 26, 2017
You know when you read these lists about healthy eating and all the foods sound barely edible? Well, this article is going to be completely different. I'm going to present seven of the best sources of antioxidants, and they all taste delicious.
Before we get to the list, let me quickly explain what antioxidants are and how they can benefit you.
On a daily basis, our body is under stress from a whole host of reasons, including lack of sleep, work, poor diet and our environment. All of these factors can damage our body through the release of compounds known as free radicals. These compounds create a phenomenon known as oxidative stress in our body, and it has links to faster aging and chronic disease.
One way we can prevent this damage is to increase our consumption of antioxidants. These beneficial substances prevent and stop the damage free radicals cause to our body and cells. The more of them we have, the more we can protect ourselves.
A diet rich in antioxidants means an improved immune system, healthier skin and eyes, a more youthful look — and just a healthier person altogether. So, now that we know how good they are, where can we get them?
1. Dark chocolate
Not a bad start, right? Dark chocolate is delicious, and it is one of the most significant sources of antioxidants in the world. It also has a host of benefits for our health and body, such as lowering blood pressure, boosting our immune system and improving the health of our skin, hair and nails.
It doesn't matter how you have it either — a delicious cup of hot chocolate is just as good as a few pieces of your favorite bar. Just one rule: Try and stick to 70 percent cacao or above for the most benefits with the least sugar.
You may also be surprised to hear that cacao is one of the most nutritious foods around. It contains massive amounts of essential minerals such as iron, magnesium and potassium. If you ever needed an excuse to indulge in a bit of chocolate, then now you have it.
Blueberries are yummy little balls of nutrition. Like dark chocolate, they are also one of the best providers of antioxidants known to man.
Whether you eat them alone or with something else, they always taste delicious. But if you want blueberries at their best, then combining them with some fresh cream tastes like heaven.
Research shows that these tiny berries help protect our heart, reduce the risk of various cancers, and they even benefit the skin.
Nuts are extremely good for our health — this is one of the only things almost everyone in the nutrition world agrees on.
Maybe some of you are sitting there wondering about pecan pie right now. Well, I'm afraid all the sugar in that probably cancels out the benefits.
A handful of pecans per day is one of the best things you can do for your body. As well as their antioxidant content, vitamins and minerals, pecans also contain a vast amount of healthy fats. These fats are fabulous for your skin and will give you a healthy glow.
For anyone watching their carbohydrate intake, these nuts are also an excellent low-carb source of antioxidants.
4. Red wine
It's not so bad when an article on healthy eating suggests chocolate and wine, is it? I'm happy to say that wine is perfectly fine to consume in moderation.
The fermented fruits in wine are a powerhouse of antioxidants — no matter what variety you prefer.
Interestingly, moderate alcohol consumption has links to longevity; studies show that people drinking a reasonable amount of alcohol live longer than both heavy drinkers and abstainers.
Blackberries are absolutely delicious, and they are my favorite fruit. There is only one problem; they are not in season long enough. So when they are, make the most of them. Along with blueberries, they bring a substantial number of antioxidants into our diet.
Research shows that wild blackberries contain a large amount of antioxidants and nutrients, which is an excellent excuse for a countryside family day out this summer.
I'll admit it: I'm far from a morning person. And for all you other nonmorning people out there, I'm sure you share my love for a hot cup of coffee. What could be better than waking up to the energizing smell of freshly brewed coffee?
I bet you didn't know coffee is the number one source of antioxidants in the American diet, though, did you? It certainly surprised me the first time I heard it. Coffee is absolutely packed with antioxidants, and it has lots of impressive health benefits.
How does helping protect against diabetes, heart disease and Alzheimer's sound? The popular morning drink also enhances our skin's ability to prevent UV damage from the sun — making coffee like a kind of internal sunscreen.
We're on to the last one now, but cinnamon is yet another source of antioxidants that does well in the taste department. Given cinnamon plays a part in some of the best-tasting foods in the world, it isn't difficult to give this spice a try.
Notably, on a per-gram basis, cinnamon is the most antioxidant-rich food on this list. Just a pinch of it contains an enormous amount of health-boosting compounds. Add it to your coffee, make some mulled wine or even use it as part of a pumpkin spice mix — there are so many things you can do with it.
Research shows that cinnamon helps protect against a variety of chronic diseases, and it also plays a prominent role in the beauty regimes of many people in the know.
And that brings an end to the list. All these foods are both healthy and delicious — which one is your favorite?
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