Do you know your antioxidants?

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Antioxidants protect our cells against the effects of free radicals. Free radicals are molecules produced when your body breaks down food, or by environmental exposures like tobacco smoke and radiation. Free radicals may also play a role in heart disease, cancer and atherosclerosis which is hardening of the arteries, arthritis and other diseases.

Examples of antioxidants are

  • Beta-carotene
  • Lutein
  • Lycopene
  • Selenium
  • Vitamins: A, B and C

Use antioxidants to boost your immune system. “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food,” said  Hippocrates.

Antioxidants help your system fight off damage from free radicals and strengthen your immune system to ward off infections, flu and colds, among others.

Antioxidants are found in many foods. These include fruits and vegetables, nuts, grains, and some meats, poultry and fish.

The New York Times suggests that antioxidants are absorbed better when consumed in foods and not in supplements. Studies also suggest that supplements do little to provide the nutrients our body needs since they are not absorbed so readily according to NPR.

USDA scientists analyzed antioxidant levels in more than 100 different foods and came up with these 20 antioxidant loaded foods, WEB Md reports.

3 super antioxidant smoothies

Wild blueberry and cranberry shake, for a morning antioxidant jump start!

Time 5 minutes

Yields 2

antioxidants, antioxidant smoothie

Antioxidants can be found in many foods: fruits and vegetables, nuts, grains, and some meats, poultry and fish. (Shutterstock)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 cup strawberries
  • 1 cup greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup low-fat milk
  • 1 ounce ground pecans or chia seeds to garnish, optional

Directions: Blend all ingredients in a standing mixer and garnish the shake with pecans.

Raspberry, blueberry and apple shake with chia seeds

Time 5 minutes

Yields 2

  • 1 cup raspberries
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 granny smith apple, sliced
  • 1 brown cow organic yogurt
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds for garnish

Directions: Blend all ingredients well in standing mixer and garnish with crunchy chia seeds, which by the way is another power food, low GI and added protein.

Coconut water shake with berries

  • 1/2 cup coconut water
  • 1/2 cup fat free milk
  • 1/2 cup plain organic yogurt
  • 1 cup strawberries
  • 1 cup raspberries
  • 2 tablespoons ground flaxseeds

Directions: Blend all ingredients and enjoy!

Note: Antioxidants are beautifiers. Think beauty inside out. All these antioxidant rich fruits have also been said to be anti-aging. Keeping your body from breaking down as fast, this includes your skin – your largest organ.

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