Should you be increasing your antioxidant intake?
You may have noticed an increase of antioxidant juices, smoothies, and tonics at your local coffee shop or grocery store. The buzz around antioxidants as an anti-aging superfood has gained popularity over the past years, but you might be left confused about what they are and how they can impact your health.
Let’s discuss what antioxidants are, how they can help benefit your health, and how to add more antioxidant rich foods into your diet.
Antioxidants are key to reducing oxidative stress in your body. Increased oxidative stress has been linked to the presences of inflammatory diseases, heart disease, & neurological disorders. Oxidative stress, essentially, is how your body ages. The more oxidative stress your body experiences, the more rapidly you will “age”.
How do antioxidants play a role in reducing oxidative stress?
Oxidative stress is caused by an increase in free radicals in your body. Free radicals are molecules that are produced by normal body functions, and by exposure to external sources. Below are some sources of free radicals in your body and your environment:
- Mitochondria function
- Excessive exercise
- Environmental pollutants
- Industrial chemicals
Your body requires a balance of free radicals and antioxidants to ensure you are not experiencing an excess of oxidative stress. When you have too many free radicals, they damage vital fat, protein, carbohydrate, and DNA cells which can lead to disease.
While it is normal for your body to produce free radicals, you may have exposure to external sources that can increase free radicals such as harsh chemicals, radiation, or environmental pollutants. As the toxicity of your environment increases, it is important to balance that with an increase intake of antioxidant rich foods.
Antioxidants are produced by your body, but there are also a variety of antioxidants that your body cannot produce that are found in foods.
Foods that are rich in vitamin E, vitamin C, and beta carotene are essential to increasing antioxidant intake because your body cannot produce these on its own.
Below are some antioxidant rich foods you can add into your diet:
A tip for adding more antioxidant rich foods is to look at your dinner plate and observe the colors found on it. Do you have a variety of greens, reds, & yellows? Is it mostly brown starches and meats? Aim to “eat the rainbow” and add a variety of colorful foods into each meal your eat.
- Bell Peppers
- Sunflower Seeds
- Sunflower Oil
- Leafy green vegetables such as collard greens, swish chard, & spinach
- Sweet potatoes
Thrive Wellness believes that developing and maintaining a healthy, balanced lifestyle may require additional support. The following recommended products offer holistic supplementation that will assist in prevention of disease and to help preserve an active and energetic lifestyle.
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Paleogreens – This is our favorite antioxidant product to add to smoothies, try it out.
Hydrating Antioxidant Rich Summer Fruit Salad
To stay hydrated this summer be sure to eat your water! This hydrating antioxidant rich fruit salad is packed with hydrating and cooling foods perfect to balance out the heat of the summer. It is rich in vitamin c, an important vitamin to provide you ample antioxidants for thriving health. Bring this salad to your next BBQ cookout, beach day, or simply snack on this fruit salad throughout your day to increase your water and antioxidant intake.
For a quicker preparation, look to buy precut watermelon, cantaloupe, mangos, & pomegranate seeds. You can throw all the ingredients in a bowl, drizzle on some lime juice & fresh mint, and you are good to go!
- 2 cups Watermelon, diced
- 2 cups Cantaloupe, diced
- 1 Mango, diced
- 1 cup Strawberries, diced
- 1 cup Blueberries
- 1 Pomegranate, peeled
- Juice of 1 small lime
- 2 tbsp fresh mint, diced
- Drizzle of raw honey as desired
- Wash berries before chopping
- Cut the watermelon, cantaloupe, & mango into small bite sized pieces
- Remove strawberry stems, and cut into small pieces as desired
- Add watermelon, cantaloupe, mango, strawberries, blueberries, & pomegranate seeds to a large mixing bowl.
- Chop 2 tbsp of fresh mint
- Add lime juice and fresh mint to the bowl of fruit and toss to coat evenly
- When serving, drizzle with raw honey if desired