Antioxidants. You’ve heard about them everywhere along with how great they are for your body but what exactly are they? And where can you get antioxidants from? Let’s dive into it.
Antioxidants are molecules that protect your cells against free radicals in the body. What are free radicals then? Free radicals are atoms that have unstable electrons. Electrons prefer to be in pairs so these free radicals wreak havoc on the body in order to seek out other electrons and become a pair. As a result, free radicals cause damage to the cells called “oxidative stress” and when free radicals levels in the body become too high, one can become at risk for a variety of serious illnesses and even cancer. Several factors that increase exposure to free radicals include eating fried foods, smoking, pollution, alcohol, high blood sugar, and infections.
What can antioxidants do for your body then? Antioxidants fight free radicals and oxidative stress that free radicals can cause (get it? Antioxidant is essentially anti-oxidative stress). While our body has natural antioxidant defenses, eating a diet abundant in antioxidants can further help fight these free radicals that can cause illnesses. Foods rich in antioxidants include mostly whole foods such as fruits and vegetables.
Fruits that are high in antioxidants include berries such as blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, and cranberries. Other fruits include apples, pomegranates, stone fruits (or any fruit involving a pit such as peaches, plums, cherries), and tropical fruits such as mangos, bananas, and dates.
As far as vegetables containing antioxidants, kale, asparagus, artichokes, beets, broccoli, tomatoes and bell peppers are all great options. However, antioxidants aren’t just limited to fruits and vegetables. Sweet potatoes, legumes, dark chocolate, and several varieties of nuts such as walnuts, almonds, pistachios, and peanuts also make the cut.
And last but not least, our favorite way to get our antioxidants is with tea! Tea and coffee both contain antioxidants. Better yet, purple tea has higher levels of antioxidants than green tea and black tea. So pick up a bottle of Kabaki and drink to your health!