Antioxidants help the body ward off cell damage caused by oxidants, which are free radicals found in the environment – think, air pollution and second-hand smoke – and produced naturally by the body. Your body creates oxidants to help it fend off viruses and microbes, but if you have too many build up at once, they can also lead to cancer and heart disease, according to WebMD.
The key is to ingest a healthy amount of antioxidants to balance out your system and help it to function properly. Luckily, there are many good-for-you foods that can help.
Fruit-wise, berries are your best bet. Blueberries contains many vitamins and minerals designed to boost immunity and fend off oxidants. These berries lower inflammation and halt cell damage in its tracks. Grapes, especially deep-colored ones such a red or purple, are also loaded with antioxidants. These contain phytochemicals, too, which boost the immune system, and offer a great daily dose of selenium and vitamin C. Raspberries and strawberries also contain phytochemicals to give oxidants the boot.
Nuts offer a healthy amount of good-for-your fats as well as protein to keep muscles strong. Walnuts contain the highest amount of plant-based omega-3s while Brazil nuts contain the highest amount of calcium. The antioxidants that come packed in these snacks will fend off environmental upset while phytochemicals help keep cholesterol levels low.
Sweet potatoes are a great source of potassium, fiber, and vitamins B6 and C. Opt for swapping traditional fries for its close cousin the next time you’re at a restaurant. Carrots and squash are also excellent sources of vitamins A and C. All of these orange-colored options offer a daily dose of antioxidants that will repair cells and keep the body operating at its best.
Leafy greens, such as cabbage and collard greens, are considered super nutrients that’ll fend off disease while supplying an extra dose of essential vitamins and minerals, including A, C, and E, and calcium. They come packed with potassium and magnesium and will keep oxidants at bay. Leeks, lettuce, and kale have the highest levels of antioxidants.
You can partner any one of these food options with green tea for an added punch. This type of tea offers a whole host of phytochemicals and is high in antioxidants. It has been shown to fight inflammation, helps to boost immunity, and can aid in weight loss. It is commonly included in detox programs design to cleanse the body and restore balance.