It goes without saying that antioxidants are extremely beneficial to good health. Antioxidants in food are thought to help prevent cancer, boost your immune system, reverse or slow ageing, increase your energy, and improve heart and other organ health.
Given what we know about antioxidants and their health benefits, it’s surprising that more people don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables, the primary sources of antioxidants. Experts recommend a minimum of 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day, with 7-10 servings being ideal.
Here are ten steps to increasing the number of antioxidants in your diet.
1. Antioxidants in Breakfast
Breakfast does not have to be hastily thrown together on the way out the door. Blend some strawberries, 100% juice, and yoghurt in a blender; pour your tasty blend into a cup and head out the door. You’ve just increased your daily fruit intake by one to three servings. Alternatively, toss some berries into your cold or hot cereal.
Here’s an easy way to boost your antioxidant intake. How about a handful of raisins or some fresh red grapes as a nice snack? Dip strawberries in some yoghurt for a decadent touch. The berries will provide the color to make a beautiful snack. Want added crunch? Dip some sliced carrots in hummus. Consider adding a handful of pecans or almonds for an antioxidant-filled crunch.
3. Lunch and Dinner
It may seem obvious, but including a salad with each of your key daily meals will improve your overall health and well-being significantly. It does not have to be bland, and it doesn’t have to be just salad greens. Add red and yellow peppers to your green salad, tomatoes to your Greek salad, or tart cranberries to your greens if you want to go classic. For lunch, make a broccoli salad, or try a rice salad with a variety of fresh vegetables including tomatoes, string beans, red onions and peppers.
Try some berries, with or without whipped cream or dark chocolate. They are an excellent way to cap off a day of antioxidant-rich eating.
Replace soda with tea or unsweetened coffee, both of which contain antioxidants. Pour a glass of red wine with dinner, or a glass of chai tea for a change of pace.
6. Try Something Different
We all know that berries, salads, and other antioxidant-rich foods are available, but researchers have discovered that powerful antioxidants can also be found in a variety of unexpected foods such as russet potatoes, artichokes, and small red beans. According to experts, the beans may have more antioxidant power than blueberries. So, to your vegetable-filled rice salad, add some beans for even more antioxidants.
7. Cook Lightly
So you think you’re doing a good thing by preparing vegetables for your family’s dinner every night. Be careful, overcooking vegetables destroys many of the antioxidants’ beneficial properties. Remember to steam (do not boil) vegetables. Over boiling, veggies will cause them to lose their bright color, some health benefits, and most of their bite.
8. Do Some Planting
Experts believe that people who plant and harvest vegetables in their own yards eat far more vegetables and fruits than people who buy their produce at the store. Plant a garden, watch it grow, and eat the (literal) fruits of your labor.
9. Continue Eating Healthy on Vacation
Too many of us view vacation as an opportunity to take a break from everything, including healthy eating. Consider a vacation as an opportunity to try new foods. If you go out to eat at a restaurant, order a vegetable dish and then pay attention to how it’s prepared.
10. Learn How to Cook
When you’re cooking, you’re not just opening bags and boxes. Cooking entails scrubbing and peeling vegetables, preparing whole foods, and paying attention to how things are cooked. If you eat out every night, chances are, you are not eating the whole foods and natural fruits and vegetables that serve as the foundation for your antioxidant intake.