Since I am just starting my health journey, I'm trying to focus each day on researching nutrition and educating myself about how my body functions and what exactly it needs to function efficiently.
Antioxidants play a major roll in our bodies. Mostly because they begin fighting on our behalf at the cellular level...where it all begins. Antioxidants are "phytochemicals, vitamins and other nutrients that protect our cells from damage caused by free radicals," according to Phytochemicals.info. Antioxidants help to slow down or prevent damage to body cells that can lead to chronic and fatal health conditions like heart disease & cancer. Some antioxidants may also boost immunity to help your body fight off infection and protect your skin from premature aging.
Taste the Rainbow
No, not skittles! Antioxidants are booming in deeply colored fresh fruits, vegetables and other plant foods. Have inflamed joints caused from arthritis? Or how about high cholesterol? Take a look at the following fruits, vegetables & herbs that are found in your local grocery store. If you see something on the list that you've never heard of or tried, I challenge you to add it to your next grocery list & find some different ways to cook them. You might be surprised what you taste!
Apples contain antioxidants that help protect “good” HDL cholesterol levels in the blood.
Avocados are densely packed with anti-inflammatory, healthy fats. Well-known for its vitamin E content, an important antioxidant.
Beets are potent antioxidants with liver-protective properties.
Blueberries and blackberries are rich in anthocyanins—these phytonutrients have power. They can reduce inflammation, increase detoxifying enzymes in the liver, and stop cancers from creating their own lifeline-blood supply.
Cabbage is a cruciferous vegetable that promotes natural detoxification in the liver. It is high in sulfur and iodine.
Carrots are the richest plant source of vitamin A, good source of potassium.
Celery is high in organic sodium, magnesium, and iron. Magnesium is important for the breakdown of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats into energy; for muscle relaxation and the prevention of cramps; and for nerve conduction and preventing tooth decay.
Cinnamon has been shown to help keep blood sugar in check.
Cucumbers contain potassium and phytosterols, which help lower blood cholesterol levels.
Fennel’s active ingredient, anethole, blocks inflammation in the body and can stop cancer cells from multiplying.
Ginger root reduces nausea, pain and inflammation, and provides heartburn relief. It also aids digestion.
Grapefruits provide a rich source of vitamin C, and are a good source of lycopene (a carotene with prostate cancer-protective properties).
Kale is an especially nutrient-dense vegetable with many potent micronutrients. Rich and abundant in calcium, lutein, iron, and vitamins A, C, and K, kale has seven times the beta-carotene of broccoli and ten times more lutein, another potent carotene. Kale is part of the cruciferous vegetable family, making it a good source of the phytonutrient indole-3-carbinol. Research shows I3C has many anti-cancer actions, such as promoting estrogen ratios in the blood that are weak, but needed to discourage breast cancer tumor growth. Crucifers are also potent detoxifiers.
Kiwis offer twice the vitamin C of an orange per serving. They are a good source of vitamin E (a potent antioxidant) and potassium.
Lemons contain natural anti-nausea and overall digestive-aid properties.
Mint is rich in plant-based omega-3 fats – an important nutrient for healthy hair, skin, and nails that has powerful anti-inflammatory activity. Omega-3s may also protect against the development of heart disease and certain types of cancers.
Parsley is a good source of folic acid, which may help lower the risk of heart disease and certain types of cancers. It also promotes fresh breath.
Pineapples are high in the enzyme bromelain, an anti-inflammatory.
Spinach is high in iron, vitamin C, and beta-carotene. The vitamin C and beta-carotene in spinach are antioxidants, and may help to protect cells from the damaging effects of free radicals. Most dark green leafy veggies are rich in lutein – a phytonutrient shown to help delay age-related macular degeneration of the eyes.
Sweet potatoes (and carrots for that matter) are rich in – a phytonutrient responsible for giving these veggies their rich orange color. Zeaxanthin has anti-cancer activity: it helps encourage cancer cells to commit suicide (apoptosis), and helps prevent tumors from being able to create their own blood supply (anti-angiogenesis).
Swiss chard tastes sweeter in juices than spinach. It is rich in vitamin C, potassium, and magnesium. Foods rich in potassium have been shown to lower blood pressure and heart disease risk.
Tomatoes are rich in lycopene – a member of the carotene family famous for its potential to prevent prostate cancer.
Ref: American Heart Association, Livestrong.com. Phytochemicals.info, JointheReboot.com