It’s no secret that antioxidants are incredibly beneficial to good health. It’s believed the antioxidants in food can help prevent cancer, reverse or slow aging, enhance your immune system, increase your energy and improve heart and other organ health.
Given all we know about antioxidants and their beneficial properties, it’s amazing more people don’t get enough fruit and vegetables, the primary sources of antioxidants. Experts recommend a minimum of 5 servings of fruit and vegetables daily, but say getting 7-10 servings is best.
Here are 10 steps to getting more antioxidants into your diet.
Breakfast doesn’t have to be a hurried piece of toast on the way out the door. Throw some strawberries, banana, yoghurt and milk into a blender, pour your delicious smoothie into a cup and head out the door. You’ve just added one to three servings of fruits to your daily intake. Or throw some berries onto your cereal.
If you honestly don’t have time in the mornings, you can still pick up a healthy breakfast on the go - grab a yoghurt and some berries from the supermarket on the way to work and mix them together for a delicious and antioxidant-full breakie.
Here’s an easy way to get more antioxidants in your diet. How about a handful of raisins for a snack, or some fresh red grapes? Dip some strawberries in yogurt. You’ll feel decadent, but the berries provide the colour you’re looking for. Need crunch? How about some baby carrots dipped in hummus? Consider a handful of pecans for crunch and a nice antioxidant boost.
3. Lunch and dinner
It might sound obvious, but adding a salad to each of your main daily meals can add loads to your overall health and wellbeing. They don’t have to be boring, and they don’t have to just be green. If you’re going classic, add some red pepper slices to your green salad, some tomatoes to the Greek salad, or even cranberries to your greens. Whip up a broccoli salad for lunch, or be adventurous and mix it up with a variety of fresh vegetables like green beans, tomatoes, peppers and red onions.
Berries are a wonderful way to end your day of healthy, antioxidant-rich eating.
Replace your fizzy drink with tea or coffee, both of which boast antioxidant compounds. Consider trying matcha green tea, which actually has 10 times the number of antioxidants than a normal mug of green tea!
6. Think outside the box
We know we can get our antioxidant fix from berries, salads and the like, but researchers say powerful antioxidants can also be found in a variety of unexpected foods, like artichokes, and red kidney beans. The beans, in fact, may have more antioxidant power than blueberries, experts say. So add some to your meals or side salads for even more antioxidants.
7. Cook carefully
You think you’re being good, preparing vegetables each night for your family’s dinner. But if you’re overcooking the vegetables, you’re cooking out a lot of the beneficial properties of the antioxidants. Steam (don’t boil) vegetables, and stop cooking them when they still have all of their bright colour and most of their bite.
8. Plant a garden
Experts believe that people who plant and harvest vegetables from their own gardens are far more likely to eat more vegetables and fruits than people who buy their produce from the supermarket. So plant a garden, watch it grow and eat the fruits (literally) of your labour.
9. Take your healthy diet on holiday
Too many of us think of going on holiday as an opportunity to take a holiday from everything, including healthy eating. Think of a holiday as an opportune way to be introduced to new foods. Order an interesting vegetable dish in a restaurant and then pay attention to how the chef prepared the dish. You never know, you may bring home a new favourite dish!
10. Learn to cook whole foods
If you’re cooking, it shouldn’t all be opening bags and boxes. Cooking involves scrubbing and peeling vegetables, preparing whole foods and paying attention to how things are cooked. If you’re ordering takeaway every night, you’re far less likely to be eating the whole foods and natural fruits and vegetables that provide the base for our antioxidant intake.