5 easy steps to getting more antioxidants into your diet

5easy steps to getting more antioxidants into your diet

Given all we know about antioxidants and their beneficial properties, it’s amazing how many people don’t get enough fruits and vegetables, the primary sources of antioxidants, in their diet.  Antioxidants are the cornerstone of our health.

The prefix ‘anti’ means against, in opposition to, or corrective in nature. In this case, the ‘anti’ in antioxidant describes the effect these chemicals have against oxidants. Oxidantsor ‘free radicals’ are produced as a natural by-product of the millions of biochemical processes undertaken by the body every minute. The same life-giving oxygen that supports all the functions of the body creates these harmful by-products that cause cell damage, usually to DNA, fats and proteins.

Free radicals also enter the body through external influences such as exposure to the sun, pesticides and other kinds of environmental pollution. In addition, their levels are increased by mental and physical stress, the consumption of alcoholic beverages, unhealthy foods, and cigarette smoke.

In much the same way as oxidation causes rust on cars, oxidation inside the body causes a breakdown of cells. If the amount of free radical oxidation in the body is allowed to rise to an unhealthy level, it can result in extensive damage to cellular components leading to serious illness and disease as well as accelerate the ageing process.

Antioxidants counter these effects by binding with free radicals before they can cause damage. They then convert them into non-damaging biochemical substances, assisting enormously with the reparation of cellular damage.
Antioxidants are best taken in combination, since single antioxidants, such as vitamin E, need other vitamins in order to work as an effective antioxidant. Food and natural supplements may therefore provide the most bio-available source of antioxidants.

Here are 5 easy steps to getting more antioxidants into your diet:

1 – Breakfast

Breakfast is the best time to set the stage for both health and fat loss. Ditch the cereal and breads for vegetable omelet, green shake or vegetable soup. These take minimal time to make or they can be made the night before and kept in the fridge.

2 – Snacks

Snacks need to be easy and fruits like the acai berry are amazing the health world because of the wide range and high number of antioxidants they contain, making them a perfect source of antioxidants.
Other great alternatives are strawberries dipped in natural yogurt. How about some baby carrots dipped in hummus? Consider a handful of pecans for crunch and a nice antioxidant boost.

3 – Lunch and dinner

It might sound clichéd, but adding a salad to each of your main daily meals can add loads to your overall health and well-being. They don’t have to be boring, and they don’t have to be just salad greens. Tart cranberries are a great addition to your field greens.

4 – Cook lightly

Overcooking vegetables is a crime! By cooking too long you’redamaging the beneficial properties of the antioxidants. Steam (don’t boil) vegetables, and stop cooking them when they have all of their bright color and most of their bite.

5 – Learn to cook

Cooking involves scrubbing and peeling vegetables, preparing whole foods and paying attention to how things are cooked. If you’re ordering out every night, you’re far less likely to be eating the whole foods and natural vegetables that provide the base for our antioxidant intake.

 

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