The health advantages of antioxidants are infinite. Whether you are looking to lose some weight, relieve your body of allergy symptoms or simply searching to improve your sleep, a stable diet packed with antioxidants can supply your body with the vitamins and minerals necessary to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Other benefits antioxidants can provide include:
- A boost to the immune system
- Softer and smoother skin
- Improved digestion
- Better memory and focus
- Enhanced blood circulation
In addition, antioxidants are essential because of their ability to repair cell damage brought on by "free radicals," – molecules that can "steal" or reduce electrons and energy within the body. Antioxidants are the best line of defense against free radicals, and adding more and more to your body will give you the energy necessary to stay alert and active throughout the day. While there are plenty of supplements available on the market, nothing beats eating the real thing. Here is a list of 10 common foods that are loaded with the most antioxidants to increase your overall health:
Tomatoes are bursting with lycopene, an antioxidant that can lower cholesterol and prevent sun damage to your skin. Lycopene is best brought out of tomatoes by cooking them because applied heat will release more antioxidants that can be absorbed during digestion.
Pistachios are a perfect afternoon snack to keep you going at work. Eating a couple handfuls of pistachios will significantly reduce your levels of low-density lipoprotein, otherwise referred to as "bad cholesterol." These unsalted and dry-roasted nuts will also limit unwanted fats and sodium in your diet, which is ideal for improving cardiovascular health.
While essentially all types of berries carry extensive amounts of antioxidants, blueberries pack the most punch – one cup equates to a total of 13,427 total antioxidant capacity per serving size. Blueberries are also full of other key nutrients, such as vitamins C and K, manganese and dietary fiber that is suited enough to meet your daily recommended amounts.
Mixing some red bell peppers into your salad or entree will give you more antioxidants than are found in an orange. Besides applying some spice into your meal, bell peppers are an excellent source of vitamins A, C and E, and can also ease symptoms of inflammation while being extremely low in calories.
Another perfect snack that won't fill you up but will assist with lowering cholesterol levels, pecans are also an excellent source of protein and unsaturated fats. Pecans are stacked with omega-6 fatty acids, which cannot be produced naturally by the body, and are needed for strengthening bones as well as relieving allergy symptoms.
According the the United States Department of Agriculture, a half cup of dried red beans can 13,727 total antioxidant capacity per serving size, which is the most out of any of the foods included on this list. Red beans are also packed with fiber, which can offer a variety of health benefits including expanding memory, regulating blood sugar levels and easing digestion.
Artichokes are also included on the USDA list of top ten foods rich in antioxidants. They are great sources of cynarin, which is an antioxidant that works at protecting the liver by repairing damaged liver tissue. While artichokes can appear tricky to ingest, there are a number of ways to prepare them for consumption. You can add artichokes to your diet by stuffing them in vegetables, steaming them or slicing artichoke hearts into a salad.
An excellent fruit that is flourishing in antioxidants such as vitamin C, copper and potassium, plums are also able to assist the body by aiding the absorption of iron. Our need for sufficient levels of iron is from the mineral's ability to carry oxygen from one body cell to another, as well as improving overall brain and muscle functioning.
With a wide variety of antioxidants included in its green leaves, it is no wonder why Popeye always cherished his spinach. With its rich quantity of Beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin, spinach is a great way to maintain a healthy skin complexion, leaving you more moisturized and radiant. To get its full amount of antioxidants, try cooking spinach to obtain the best nutritional results.
Along with vitamin C and lutein, corn is full of zeaxanthin, which can strengthen your eyes by protecting them from dangerous high energy ultraviolet waves from the sun. Corn is a perfect side item for any lunch or dinner and contains at least 10 percent of your daily value in antioxidants such as thiamin, phosphorus and magnesium. With so many methods to prepare corn, its one of the easier ways to get more antioxidants into your diet.
These are just a few of the amazing foods that are packed with the antioxidants your body needs to stay healthy and active!