If you've been feeling forgetful and unfocused lately, it could be time to reevaluate your diet, particularly how the amount of fresh fruits and vegetables it includes. Fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants, nutrients that help protect our bodies at the cellular level, boosting the immune system and slowing cognitive decline. Antioxidants help prevent cellular damage from free radicals. Recent research indicates a strong link between free radicals and health.
Antioxidants Vs. Free Radicals
Free radicals are toxic byproducts of natural cell metabolism and have the capability of damaging healthy cells through a process called oxidation, which is thought to be a factor in the development of certain diseases. According to the National Cancer Institute, antioxidants neutralize free radicals and prevent some damage they would otherwise cause. To increase your protection against free radicals, eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Fruits rich in antioxidants include blueberries, cranberries, blackberries, plums, raspberries, strawberries, apples, and cherries. A great way to include a variety of fruit in your diet is to add color.
Fruits that are bright red in color, such as apples, strawberries, watermelons and strawberries, are rich in antioxidants as well as fiber, vitamin C, folate, potassium. According to the Cleveland Clinic, these nutrients help to improve heart and memory function as well as urinary tract health.
Fruits that are dark in hue, such as purples and blue include blueberries, plums, blackberries, and purple figs contain a high number of antioxidants as well as fiber, vitamin E, anthocyanin and phenolic phytochemicals. These nutrients can promote healthy aging and help improve memory.
How Much Fruit Do You Need?
To get the most benefit from antioxidants, Fruits & Veggies More Matters suggests filling half your plate with fruits and vegetables at every meal or snack to ensure that you are eating enough nutrient-rich foods.