Thanks to multiple discussions on the health benefits of these compounds, the concept of antioxidants have become commonplace in our lives.
This article lists the top 6 antioxidant foods along with some recipe ideas to ensure that you get the right amount of antioxidants every day. Antioxidants are essential elements when it comes to maintaining good health and preventing disease. Although they are more often associated with the slow down of the aging process, these compounds can do much more than that for our bodies. Antioxidants have been proven to reduce the risk of diabetes, cholesterol, cardiovascular disease, and even cancer. And although there are commercial supplements available, Nature is the best provider of antioxidants.
What follows is a list of the most beneficial foods according to their antioxidant contents.
Nuts are known for being great sources of energy while having a high content of protein and fiber, which is why they make such good snacks. In addition, certain nuts are excellent sources of antioxidants. Of all nuts, pecans have the highest levels of antioxidants, especially in terms of their vitamin E and magnesium content. Next in the list are hazelnuts, almonds, and walnuts. Nuts can be eaten on their own as snacks, but they are also a valuable ingredient in pies, bread, salads, and fish dishes. Nuts are also one of the main ingredients of pesto sauce, so they offer a tasty and healthy way of enjoying a guilt-free pasta meal.
According to a 2004 study carried out by nutritional agencies, the darker the color of a bean, the higher the level of flavonoids will be. Flavonoids are powerful antioxidants that can help prevent heart disease and lower cholesterol levels. Therefore, black beans top the list antioxidant-laden legumes, followed by red, brown, yellow, and white beans. A dish as simple to prepare as a three bean salad is, therefore, an antioxidant cocktail. Beans can also be added to soups, salads, meatloaves, pasta, and casseroles.
In recent years, a number of celebrities have claimed that one of the secrets to their healthy and youthful looks is the regular consumption of certain berries. A small cup of berries can actually provide all the antioxidants that our bodies need every day, and the good news is that there is a large variety of berries to choose from wild blueberries, cranberries, blackberries, strawberries, and the almost miraculous goji berry. These can be added to smoothies, fruits salads, cereals, puddings, and sauces.
It seems that after all, chocolate has been getting an undeserved bad press for quite some time. The antioxidant properties of chocolate are nowadays well documented, and in fact, some do not hesitate to dub chocolate as the new super-food. According to a study carried out by nutritionists at the Hershey Centre for Health & Nutrition, dark chocolate has more antioxidants than fruit and green tea, as long as it is eaten raw or in powder. Chocolate lovers will have no troubles finding ways of incorporating this food into their menus. And why not try an antioxidant powerhouse by dipping berries into a dark chocolate sauce?
Perhaps they are not the most popular vegetable out there, but artichokes are certainly packed with beneficial antioxidant compounds. Researchers at the University of Virgina were surprised to find out about the high percentage of antioxidants contained in artichokes, as these came seventh on a list of over 1,000 other foods. Artichoke hearts, in particular, were found to be richest in the type of antioxidants that can regenerate liver tissue and reduce the risk of breast cancer.
Although prunes are known for their high fiber contents, they have more antioxidant compounds than blueberries and raisins. Prunes can be eaten as snacks or used in baked goods, such as muffins or sweetbreads. They can also be used as a substitute for butter when baking, or in other recipes such as shrimp and jalapeño kebabs, chutneys, or fruit crumbles.
With all this in mind, it is obvious that staying healthy and consuming the right amount of antioxidants does not have to be hard. In fact, due to the large variety of antioxidant-rich foods, staying healthy and youthful is a flavourful pleasure.