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 fruits and vegetables, the primary sources of antioxidants. Experts recommend a minimum of 5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily.
There are 10 steps to getting more antioxidants into your diet.
Breakfast doesn’t have to be a hurried toaster on the way out the door. Include some fruits, leafy greens and yogurt into a blender; pour your delicious mixture 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 bananas into your cold or hot cereal.
Do you say you truly have no time in the morning and usually grab something on the run, order a fruit and yogurt parfait and some apple slices. For a little amount of money, you have a breakfast providing one to two servings of fruit.
This is an easy way to get more antioxidants in your diet. How about a handful of raisins, dates for a snack, or some fresh oranges? Dip some strawberries in yogurt. Need crunch? How about some carrots, or nuts? Consider a handful of cashews for crunch and you have a nice antioxidant boost.
3. Lunch and dinner
It might sound trite, but adding a salad to each of your main daily meals can add loads to your overall health and well-being. They don’t have to be boring, and they don’t have to be just salad greens. If you’re going classic, add some red pepper slices to your green salad, some tomatoes to the Greek salad, or avocado to your field greens. Whip up a broccoli salad for lunch, or be adventurous and mix up a quinoa salad with a combination of fresh vegetables like kidney beans, sweet corn, tomatoes, peppers and grilled children.
Dark chocolate, coconut candy, banana tarts are a wonderful way to end your day of healthy, antioxidant-rich eating.
Replace your soda with green tea or coffee, both of which boast antioxidant compounds. Instead of having a glass of wine with dinner, go for a real change of pace, pour a glass of chai 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 sweet potatoes, artichokes, and small red beans. The beans, in fact, may have more antioxidant power than blueberries, experts say. So to your rice salad full of vegetables, add some beans for even more antioxidants.
7. Cook lightly
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 will have all of their bright color and most of their bite.
8. Plant a garden
Experts believe that people who plant and harvest vegetables from their own yards are far more likely to eat more vegetables and fruits than people who buy their produce from the store. So plant a garden, watch it grow and eat the fruits (literally) of your labor.
9. Take your healthy diet as a lifestyle
Too many of us consider living healthy is a condemnation to a boring life, including healthy eating. Think of this lifestyle as a way to be introduced to new foods. Order an interesting vegetable dish in a restaurant or try out a new healthy recipe.
10. Learn to cook
If you’re cooking, you’re not 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 out 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.