10 Antioxidants to Help You Stay Healthier Longer
In September of 2012, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters unveiled a line of coffees aimed at wellness. Each of the three products is packed with vitamins and antioxidants that help fight free radicals. But they aren’t the only beverage company to do this.
Coca Cola offered bottle water rich in vitamins and minerals as early as 2010, and in November 2012 Starbucks hopped on the wellness bandwagon with their purchase of the juice company, Evolution Fresh, which offers fresh juices and smoothies.
Where to Find Antioxidants
According to the National Cancer Institute , “Antioxidants are substances that may protect cells from the damage caused by unstable molecules known as free radicals. Free radical damage may lead to cancer.” But you don’t have to drink your daily allowance of antioxidants.
There are plenty of fruits, vegetables, and other foods that are chock full of antioxidants that fight free radicals in your body. However there are a lot of other foods like beans and nuts that are also filled with the antioxidants necessary for a healthy immune system.
Here’s a list of some of the foods that have more antioxidants than others. A few of the things listed here may surprise you! Each food is listed from greatest to least total antioxidant capacity per cup.
- Pecans – 40760
- Red kidney beans – 26518
- Pinto beans – 23728
- Dried prunes – 14582
- Wild blueberries – 13427
- Cranberries (whole) – 8983
- Artichoke hearts (cooked) – 7904
- Blackberries – 7701
- Sweet cherries – 4873
- Black beans – 4181
As you can see most of the foods listed above are versatile and make ingredients to breakfast, lunch, or dinner. For example you could add artichoke hearts or black beans to a breakfast omelet as easily as you could a salad for lunch or pasta dish at dinnertime.
On the other hand you could add berries and pecans to French toast at breakfast or a leafy green salad for lunch, or add cranberries and pecans to rice or stuffing as a side dish to your favorite poultry recipe. The possibilities for adding antioxidants to your food are limited only by your taste buds and creativity.
How Cooking Affects Antioxidant Quality of Foods
Cooking affects the antioxidant quality in foods. However it depends on how that food is cooked. Grilling or steaming vegetables, for example, does not drain nearly the amount of antioxidants lost by boiling or deep frying these same foods.
Another contrast worth mentioning is that between potatoes and carrots as opposed to tomatoes. Boiling potatoes and carrots causes a significant decrease in the amount of antioxidants found in these root vegetables. But stewing tomatoes, for whatever reason, actually spikes their antioxidant levels.
When researching the antioxidant levels of fruits, vegetables, and other foods, make sure you check the conditions of the value given, whether it is for when the food is raw or cooked. If cooked be sure to research how the food was cooked as well.
Supplementing Your Well-Balanced Diet
Sometimes a well-balanced diet isn’t enough. Just because you eat antioxidant-rich foods does not mean that you are getting all the various types of antioxidants you need. One type of antioxidant alone is not enough to boost your immune system and stave off diseases, especially if you are in the senior years of life.
One necessary antioxidant for elderly humans is glutathione, which can be found in garlic, onions, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, asparagus, avocados, kale, and spinach. As some people get older, they are unable to eat onions or garlic, or they have no taste for kale or spinach.
However glutathione is like a bullet-proof vest for your immune system. It prevents damage to your mitochondria as well. Between these two effects alone, glutathione can prevent some of the signs of old age, such as memory loss, lethargy, and falling ill to common ailments that turn into something more serious, like pneumonia.
Old Age Doesn’t Mean Giving Up
Just because someone is retired does not mean they are ready for the retirement home. A vitamin supplement that contains glutathione in conjunction with a well-balanced diet and physical activity can keep humans healthy long into their senior years.
Whether someone drinks their antioxidants with some type of name-brand beverage or increase their daily intake of fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy lifestyle habits go a long way. One word of caution – before doing anything drastic always consult with a doctor first to avoid drug interactions or flare ups of present health issues.