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 but say getting 7-10 servings is best.
There are 10 steps to getting more antioxidants into your diet.
Breakfast doesn’t have to be a donut on the way out the door. Instead, throw strawberries, 100% juice, and some greens 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 and veggies to your daily intake. Or throw some berries onto your cold or hot cereal.
Say you have no time in the morning and usually grab something on the run. Even the Golden Arches can help you. Order fruit and maple oatmeal, and apple slices. For a few dollars, you have a breakfast providing one to two servings of fruit.
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 color 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.
Lunch and dinner
It might sound simplistic, but adding a salad to your daily meals can add 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 tart cranberries to your field greens. Whip up a broccoli salad for lunch, or be adventurous and mix up a rice salad with a mélange of fresh vegetables like string beans, tomatoes, peppers, and red onions.
Dates are one of my favorite desserts, and they are packed with antioxidants. Or you could go for an apple, orange, or berries. All are great options to end your day of healthy, antioxidant-rich eating.
Replace your soda with tea or coffee, both of which boast antioxidant compounds. Or, for a real change of pace, pour a glass of chai tea.
Think outside the box
We know we can get our antioxidant fix from berries, salads, and the like. Still, researchers say powerful antioxidants can also be found in a variety of unexpected foods, like russet potatoes, artichokes, and small red beans. The beans, in fact, may have more antioxidant power than blueberries, experts say. So, add some beans to your salad full of vegetables for even more antioxidants.
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 many of the antioxidants’ beneficial properties. Steam (don’t boil) vegetables, and stop cooking them when they still have all of their bright color and most of their bite.
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.
Take your healthy diet on vacation
Too many of us consider going on vacation an opportunity to take a break from everything, including healthy eating. Instead, think of vacation as a way to be introduced to new foods. For example, order an interesting vegetable dish in a restaurant and then pay attention to how the chef prepared the dish.
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 you cook them. 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.
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