Antioxidant foods are key in maintaining an overall healthy body and system. I thought it would be helpful to list the 10 best foods for getting antioxidants, since there are so many. Due to the large variety, there's bound to be something that you will enjoy eating!
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Eating cereal for breakfast is an easy way to start out the day with some antioxidants. There are tons of cereals that state right on the box that they are made with whole grains, so be sure to check next time you head to the store for cereal. Besides breakfast cereals, many breads are made from whole grains, which are perfect for an antioxidant-filled sandwich at lunch. Bulgur wheat is an excellent grain that can be cooked up with some scallions, garlic and olive oil. Combining this mixture with some basil and brown rice makes an excellent side dish for dinner.
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It's amazing at just how many foods are either made from or contain mostly soy products. There is anything from soy milk to soy burgers in the store today. There's bound to be some sort of combination that surely anyone can find something that satisfies his/her taste buds. It's hard to imagine that these odd little beans can create some of the most fantastic foods around. Certain brands of chocolate soy milk tastes just like a milk shake. It is scrumptious!
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Believe it or not, carrots are listed as antioxidant foods as well. They contain beta-carotene, which is a super-potent antioxidant and is also found in sweet potatoes and beets. Carrots are great dipped in peanut butter, ranch dressing, or even hummus. They are a perfect snack and can be taken anywhere, so they are a great travel food too. This beta-carotene stuff is excellent for protection against various types of cancer, heart disease, even for slowing the progression of arthritis. Eating raw carrots is how to get the most antioxidants from them, since heat breaks down antioxidants.
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Both of these beverages have antioxidants that reduce the risk of stroke, heart disease, and cancer. It was previously thought that green tea was higher in antioxidants than black tea, but new studies have shown that neither one is more beneficial than the other. While most people prefer to drink their tea or coffee, there are some that actually cook with it. Baking with coffee is nothing new, but cooking soba noodles in green tea is a great way to absorb some of the antioxidant power into the noodles. Toss these noodles with some sesame oil and you have a perfect light lunch!
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There are many people who don't like the taste of spinach, but they usually have only tried it one way. I grew up eating canned spinach. Later in life, I found how wonderful fresh spinach is in salads. I also discovered that I could get my son to eat it by making a wilted salad with it. You follow the same process as making a wilted lettuce salad, just use spinach instead. It's one of those antioxidant foods that is better raw, since you will get a lot more of the antioxidants from it. Grown-ups always tell little kids about how carrots help eyesight, well, spinach does too! It contains lutein, which is a pigment that shields the retina of your eye from sun damage.
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I put garlic in just about everything I cook, so I should be covered in the antioxidants with this! I crush it and add it to stir-fry dishes, dice it for soups, slice it in thin slivers for baking with chicken, and roast an entire bulb for spreading on bread. I always have fresh bulbs sitting in the pantry and a large container of pre-minced garlic is readily available in the fridge. This is great for putting a spoonful in scrambled eggs in the morning. Nothing like dosing up on antioxidants first thing in the morning! It also adds a great flavor to all that you cook.
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These little gems contain a substance known as resveratrol which is known for its various abilities — lowering blood sugar, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer properties. The resveratrol is found in the skin of red grapes. Peanuts also contain resveratrol, but you'd have to consume twice as many peanuts as wine, in order to get the same amount of resveratrol. So, for an ounce of red wine, you'd need to eat two ounces of peanuts. There are many people that like to enjoy a small glass of red wine with meals, just for the added health benefits from the resveratrol.
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There are many different ways to prepare tomatoes and so many sauces are tomato-based, making them one of the most widely used antioxidant foods. Tomatoes have lycopene in them, which is twice as powerful as beta-carotene and great for warding off cataracts, cancer, and keeping the mind sharp. Even men who love their chips and salsa, as well as their spaghetti and meatballs, are better protected against prostate cancer than men who are anti-tomato. With the antioxidants in tomatoes, it's opposite than some other foods, it's better to eat these cooked than raw. Cooking tomatoes makes the lycopene more able to be absorbed by the body. If you add oil to cooked tomatoes, the body absorbs even more of the lycopene.
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Some people can't stand the taste of broccoli, cooked or raw. This is usually because of genetics, believe it or not. There is a chemical called PTC, or phenylthiocarbamide, which some people can detect and others cannot. It is a dominant trait, meaning if both parents can taste it, then their kids can too. If both parents cannot taste it then their children won't either. People who can taste PTC find it very bitter. Other foods containing PTC include cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and kale. While some people can eat broccoli raw and dipped in ranch dressing, others have to cook it and smother it in cheese to tolerate it.
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Wild blueberries have a high number of antioxidants and are widely known for this fact. Berries also have fiber, vitamins, and minerals as well. Blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries have antioxidants that fight cancer. Blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries each have the ability to combat carcinogens, which are substances that speed up cancer. Blueberries are also supposed to help your brain as well. I try to have some in the freezer and drop them in my pancakes or in my cereal in the morning. In the summer, I'll munch on frozen ones too! Great snack on a hot day.
I hope you find this list of antioxidant foods insightful and maybe even learned a few new things about some of the foods you've been eating. This list just goes to show that you don't have to eat nothing but fruit and nuts to get the benefits of antioxidants. They are found in tons of foods that I didn't even list. So, eat, enjoy, and be healthy!
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