Did you know that antioxidants help the body naturally fight aging? How awesome is that?! This post will share the top 10 antioxidant-rich foods (plus recipes)!
You guys know I’m big on creating delish and accessible clean-eating recipes. My health and wellness journey began when I was struggling with my weight for years and felt trapped in my own body.
I just hated the feeling, you know? Always feeling tired, sluggish, and knowing I was prone to more serious diseases in the future–I knew this had to stop.
I’m a firm believer in prevention over cure. And it’s by eating right and living well that we can avoid unnecessary health issues…and live our most energetic life ever! Who’s with me?
So in this post, I’d like to talk about a huge buzzword I’m sure you’ve heard over and over again: ANTIOXIDANTS.
I’ll be sharing why they’re worth the hype and crucial to living a healthy life. I’ve also got some recipes you can make with these powerhouse ingredients, of course.
What Are Antioxidants?
Antioxidants are naturally protective molecules found in a variety of foods. There are thousands of their kind! And they all have pretty much the same function: to protect your cells against free radicals.
Free radicals? They’re unstable atoms that can damage your cells, eventually causing aging and illness.
So how do you get free radicals? They come from things like smoking, pollution, stress, unhealthy food, and other influences from the environment or genetics.
You’ll want to avoid them as much as possible because they can eventually lead to serious diseases like cancer, atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), and other chronic diseases.
Do Antioxidants Help With Inflammation?
They do! Antioxidants play a huge part in helping reduce inflammation in your body. Inflammation is your body’s way of protecting itself from toxins and free radicals. When it happens too much, however, it becomes chronic.
By protecting your cells from free radical damage, antioxidants help reduce your body’s inflammatory response.
Chronic inflammation can lead to more serious diseases (like cancer, heart problems, Alzheimer’s, depression, and the list goes on) so it’s good to keep an eye on.
For more info on inflammation and an anti-inflammatory diet, check out my 5-Day Anti-Inflammatory Diet Meal Plan.
Which Foods Have The Most Antioxidants?
Here are some examples of powerful antioxidants you can get from certain foods:
- Vitamin E: Almonds, avocado, leafy greens, peanuts, red peppers, sunflower seeds
- Vitamin C: Leafy greens, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, grapefruit, oranges, strawberries, sweet potatoes, bell peppers
- Carotenoids (Beta Carotene and Lycopene): Beets, cantaloupe, carrots, kale, pumpkin, tomatoes, watermelon, apricots, asparagus
- Astaxanthin: Fish, seafood, and algae such as krill, salmon, plankton
- Selenium: Beef, poultry, barley, brown rice, fish
- Resveratrol from wine, grapes, peanuts, berries
- Anthocyanins from blueberries, and strawberries
- Catechins from tea, cocoa, berries
- Quercetin from apples, red wine, onions
- Zinc: Beef, lentils, chickpeas, cashews, fortified cereals, sesame seeds, oysters, shrimp
What is The Strongest Antioxidant?
It’s hard to name just ONE or the BEST in the world (as different types of food come with various benefits and in different quantities). But if I were to pick one from the top tier of nutrient-dense foods, it would be…
The blueberry. Scientists ranked them 2nd in a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) comprehensive analysis of the antioxidant content of commonly used food.
Dried red beans came in just slightly first on the list. I mention blueberries because they’re one of the most commonly known superfoods mentioned by credible authorities in health. They’re also one of the best sources of antioxidants and provide a good source of fiber with phytonutrients known to delay aging.
How Can I Increase My Antioxidants?
You can naturally increase your antioxidant intake by eating clean and cooking with nutrient-dense ingredients! It’s also best to cook and store these ingredients mindfully so that their nutritional value doesn’t diminish.
(Cooking methods such as deep-frying, microwaving, using unhealthy oils in high temperatures can strip the nutrient value of your ingredients. It can also cause certain foods to become toxic to your body).
Doing away with store-bought processed foods, seasonings, and sauces will do your body great. Switch to the natural stuff! Need a little push? Read my post on What Happens When You Stop Eating Processed Food?
What Are the Top 10 Antioxidant Rich Foods?
Black Beans: Black beans contain LOADS of antioxidants. Studies show they contain ten times the amount of anthocyanin in the equivalent 100 gm serving size of oranges!
Try this easy peasy Butternut Squash Instant Pot Chili with black beans. Music-to-your-tastebuds yummy, I promise.
Blueberries: These are known to have one of the highest antioxidant content among food. They are great at fighting inflammation, boosting immunity, may also help protect against heart disease and cancer.
Try this super easy and refreshing Lemon Blueberry Sorbet.
- Strawberries: Which such a beautiful color, you know they’ve got to be good! Strawberries are low-calorie, packed with polyphenols, vitamins, and fiber! Try these gluten-free, paleo-friendly, sugar-free Healthy Strawberry Muffins.
- Nuts: As one of the most balanced foods on the planet, nuts offer a healthy dose of fats, antioxidants, and minerals. Try these no-fail, heavenly soft and dense Banana Nut Muffins.
- Kale: This leafy green has such a good reputation for a reason. Kale is packed with powerful antioxidants like kaemferol and quercetin. Try this blend-and-go breakfast or snack perfection goodness: Kiwi and Kale Smoothie.
Spinach: While trending slightly less than kale, spinach is a superfood you don’t want to miss. It’s a truly great source of lutein (for eye health) and kaemferol (anti-cancer and prevents chronic diseases).
Ready for the easiest recipe OF ALL TIME? Go for this Garlic Sauteed Spinach.
Dark Chocolate: I’m happy about this one, too! Chocolate contains minerals, loads of antioxidants, boosts your mood, and increases blood flow. Make sure it’s at least 70% cacao. Even better if 80-90%.
Another sure way to boost your mood? My Dark Chocolate Mint Chia Pudding.
Beets: Another time where the color signals power. Beets are an absolute anti-oxidant powerhouse AND help suppress inflammation. They’re packed with essential vitamins, calcium, potassium, protein, and iron.
Not everyone can eat beets in their natural form so try this lusciously creamyBeet Hummus!
Fish: As you already know, seafood is healthy, especially! It’s a good source of vitamin D, nutrients, and antioxidants that can help fight autoimmune, cardiovascular, and brain diseases.
I love almonds and I love fish. And I’m gonna make you love this Almond Crusted Sea Bass.
Sweet Potatoes: Y’all know it. I LOVE sweet potatoes! Like a LOT. These lovelies are high in beta carotene, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. It’s no wonder they’re considered a superfood.
Craving for a healthy, freezer-friendly snack? Try these Crispy Baked Sweet Potato Tots with Maple Greek Yogurt Dip.
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