Antioxidant this, antioxidant that.
I feel like every time I turn around, people and products are spurting off the word “Antioxidant”. And honestly, at least half the time, I have the sneaking suspicion that they might not really know exactly what antioxidants are or why they are beneficial to your body.
The word “Antioxidant” has become, in my opinion, a catch phrase for being good for you. I think when people hear “antioxidant”, they know that is a good thing but do they know why?
So let’s break it down really quickly for everyone so that we all can understand WHY antioxidants are so important for every one of us.
Antioxidants are substances that protect the cells in your body from free radicals.
Clear as mud, right?
But, what are free radicals?
Free radicals are molecules that are produced when your body breaks down food or you are exposed to cigarette smoke or pollution. These free radicals, if left unchecked by antioxidants, can lead to an increased rate of cancer, heart disease and stroke, among other age-related diseases. Oh and did we mention that antioxidants are good for your skin as well? By increasing your consumption of antioxidants, inflammation decreases, allowing damaged skin cells to repair themselves and reverse visible damage.
Ok so now that we understand, for the most part, why antioxidants are good, let’s talk about how we can get them.
In order to fully protect ourselves from these nasty little free radicals, we need to consume 8-11,000 antioxidant units/day. The best way to get these units is to consume fruits and vegetables that are rich in antioxidants. And sadly, not all fruits and vegetables are created equally when it comes to antioxidants. So even if you are able to eat 9 servings of fruits and vegetables a day, depending on what those fruits and vegetables are, you might only consume a fraction of the antioxidants you need to stave off free radicals.
Here is a list of great fruits and vegetables you can incorporate into your diet if your goal is to make your diet rich in antioxidants.
- Red beans
- Kidney beans
- Pinto beans
- Black beans
- Dark leafy greens
If you are anything like me reading this list you are thinking 2 things: SMOOTHIES and MEXICAN! Taco Tuesday doesn’t just have to be on Tuesday, does it?!
So there you have it. Be good to your body via your diet and every aspect of your body will thank you!