There are many foods with antioxidants and then there’s foods rich in antioxidants as well as other great nutrients. Increasing our consumption of antioxidant rich food is important to our overall health and helps our body fight free radicals as well as strengthen our immune system.
With a balanced diet, rich in fruits and vegetables, we can be sure we are getting enough antioxidants to help counteract all the garbage that’s inhaled or absorbed through the skin on a daily basis. Environmental toxins and pollutants, preservatives, food additives, and too much sun exposure increases free radical production, thus puts our body at risk for many diseases and ailments. That’s where antioxidants are a life saver.
My favorite antioxidants are a perfect addition to your summer grub and are best in peak season (at least the fruits and veggies are), which is soon or now in some areas. When choosing antioxidant rich foods, stick with organic and Non-GMO as much as possible.
- Cherries -There are many varieties of cherries to choose from, and all have antioxidants. Tart cherry is the richest in antioxidants. Queritrin is found in cherries, which is a potent anticancer agent. Isoqueritrin is another antioxidant found in cherries helping to slow down the aging process. Tart cherries are rich in anthocyanins, reducing inflammation. Cherries also contain melatonin, an antioxidant important to promoting regular sleep cycles. They have almost as much antioxidant power as blueberries. Cherries are a great source of Vitamin C, potassium and fiber, and tart cherry contains a high amount of vitamin A. They are great in smoothies, pies, fresh juices, cookies or muffins and dried for granola or trail mix. Also great as a snack, fresh!! And it’s fun to go cherry picking, even with the kids. In season in July and August typically.
- Cacao Nibs/powder– Chocolate in its purest form, before any additives and processing occurs. Rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Cacao has high amounts of magnesium and iron, polyphenols and flavonols. It has a nutty, slightly bitter taste. Cacao nibs have been said to improve mood, as they act on neurotransmitters in our brain. Add them to cookies in place of chocolate chips, in smoothies, muffins, and other desserts. I love the nibs (from the cacao bean) in my protein bites or trail mix.
- Berries – Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and strawberries oh my!! Blueberries have the highest antioxidant content of all the berries and are ripe for picking throughout the summer. Berries are great for heart health, brain health and fighting cancer. They have high levels of vitamin C and contain querticin and anthocyanidin, potent antioxidants. I always love picking berries and freezing them for later use in smoothies, breads, or muffins. Ripe in mid June through August.
- Matcha Green Tea Powder – Rich in anthocyanins and pro-anthocyanins, which help to fight inflammation, and catechins, another antioxidant for blocking cell damage leading to cancer. Matcha has a grassy, earthy taste. I enjoy Matcha Latte’s with a little honey and almond milk. It’s great iced as well, perfect for the summer time. Green tea has been used for years for preventing cancer and improving cardiovascular health.
- Kale -A favorite among our house. Used in salads, juices, soups, smoothies, baked or dried, it’s all good. My favorite variety is purple kale. You can sauté for a less bitter taste with some garlic, or massage it with your favorite dressing for a raw salad. It’s rich in calcium, magnesium, potassium, Vitamins A, E and C. It boasts luetin and quercetin, strong antioxidants. Don’t just stop there, leafy green vegetables are all high in antioxidants and vitamins and minerals. Many have cancer-fighting properties, including kale.
For some recipe ideas using some of these foods visit my recipe page. You can kind soups with kale, salads, smoothies with berries and tart cherry, protein bites, muffins, and breakfast cookies, all full with antioxidant power.
Until Next Time Be Whole & Be Fit
What’s your favorite antioxidant rich food? Do you enjoy summer produce as much as I do?