Naturally occurring antioxidants help fight diseases in the body, boost immunity, and repair damaged cells. These antioxidants can be found in a variety of whole foods that nutritionists have been recommending for years, including fruits, legumes and whole grains. It’s important to include antioxidants in your diet because of their many health benefits, so try digging in to one of these especially antioxidant-rich foods.
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Berries are a treasure trove of antioxidants, especially blueberries, cranberries and blackberries. Raspberries, strawberries and acai berries are also high on the list. The International Food Information Council points out that many antioxidant-rich foods can be identified by their deep natural colors, such as the dark red of ripe raspberries or the deep purple of blueberries and blackberries.
Another bright vegetable that’s high on the antioxidant list is the carrot. Fresh, crisp carrots contain large amounts of beta carotene, which is a notable component of many healthy whole foods. Beta carotene helps increase the disease-fighting powers of antioxidants and can be found in several fresh fruits as well.
Vegetables of all colors contain some amount of antioxidants, but many green vegetables are especially loaded with the compound. Kale, brussels sprouts, spinach, artichokes, asparagus and watercress are all strong sources of antioxidants. The Nibble magazine names broccoli as another antioxidant-rich green vegetable.
Though not as high in antioxidants as fresh fruits or vegetables, whole grains are also a valuable source of the immunity-boosting compounds. To get the biggest benefits from grains, make sure you choose products that contain 100 percent whole grains as a first ingredient rather than refined or processed grains. You can find whole-wheat and multigrain bread, flour, pasta and other products. Other whole grains, such as barley, millet, oats and corn, are good sources of antioxidants, too.
The Cleveland Clinic notes that many foods that are naturally rich in vitamin E are also rich in antioxidants. Legumes and beans including lentils, soybeans, split peas, and pinto beans contain beneficial amounts of both compounds and are also a useful meat substitute for people who are trying to cut back on the servings of meat in their diets.
The Nibble states that one serving of green tea has a greater amount of antioxidants than a serving of broccoli and also contains substances that neutralize harmful free radicals in the body. Green tea is a particularly good choice for people trying to lose weight and cut extra calories from their diets.