You’ve heard the argument for getting your 5-7 servings of fruits and vegetables a day, but maybe you need another reason to choose an apple over a Snickers bar and steamed veggies over buttered bread. In addition to weight loss, clearer skin, and a better feeling body, fruits and vegetables contain natural antioxidants that fight aging. The free radical theory of aging states that we age because our cells accumulate free radical damage from exposure to smoking, air pollutants, the sun, and chemicals. To fight premature aging of the cells you can eat foods high in antioxidants that counteract and fight free radicals.
Next time you go shopping toss these antioxidant rich foods in your basket and eat to good health!
This tree-like veggie is known in the health community for providing the most concentrated source of vitamin C, a premier antioxidant nutrient. Vitamin C provides support of the body’s oxygen metabolism and lowers the risk of chronic inflammation and cancer risk. If that wasn’t enough, broccoli contains several carotenoids, which function as key antioxidants.
You may skip over these fruits, but apricots pack a powerful punch of antioxidants including carotenoids and vitamin A, which is needed for cell growth and immune system function. This fruit is also good for your vision, full of potassium, and contains a healthy serving of fiber.
These fruits may already be your favorite topping for yogurt and granola or a sweet treat after dinner, but these small berries provide the body with specific antioxidants that can’t be found in any other food. In addition to high levels of vitamin C and anthocanines, raspberries contain ellagitannins, which make up 50 percent of a raspberries antioxidant effect.
This tiny fruit is packed full of queritrin and ellagic acid, which fight off the body’s cancerous cells to prevent cancer from developing. Try to eat an organic version of this fruit or drink cherry juice for your daily dose of these cancer-fighting antioxidants.
Contrary to the popular belief that this water-packed summer treat is made up of only water and sugar, watermelon is actually a nutrient dense food that is full of antioxidants. This melon is full of vitamin C and lycopene, which is associated with a decreased risk of prostate cancer.
This yummy vegetable contains some of the most powerful, polyphenol antioxidants including quercetin, which fights against cancer and heart disease, rutin which is anti inflammatory and anti-allergenic, and anthocyanins that help with urinary tract health, memory function, and graceful aging.
Probably one of the most commonly known antioxidant rich foods, these berries do pack a powerful punch of health, especially considering their small size. One cup of natural, wild blueberries contains more antioxidant capacity than 20 other fruits and vegetables. For blueberries their antioxidant power comes from the blue pigment in the berries, which protects against inflammation, Alzheimer’s disease, and other degenerative diseases.
This leafy green is already loved for its high levels of fiber, potassium, and multiple vitamins. In addition to being full of healthy goodness, spinach is full of the carotenoids luten and zeaxanthin, which protect the eyes from damage, fight against cataracts, and age-related macular degeneration.
9. Kidney Beans
You may already love beans as a source of protein, fiber, and nutrients, but kidney beans are also exceptionally rich in flavonoids, a class of antioxidants that helps fight aging and the presence of free radicals in the body.
You may already know that oranges are high in vitamin C, but this particular vitamin is the primary water-soluble antioxidant in the body. It works to prevent damage inside and outside the cells to prevent colon cancer. In addition it can reduce the severity of inflammatory conditions like asthma, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis.
1. Your portions are off
You may be eating all the good stuff, but you’re eating too much of it. Take the time to read the serving size indications and stick to it by measuring out your portions or using an at-home food scale. Don’t trust yourself to guess what a cup of spaghetti looks like or you’ll be putting in all the effort of dieting without reaping any benefits. A study of overweight people found that 38 percent of those who practiced only portion control lost weight.
2. You give up too easily
It can be tempting to throw in the towel when you slip up. You may be thinking that if you’ve already ruined your diet you might as well stuff your face and start fresh tomorrow. This way of thinking will get you nowhere fast. It’s natural to overeat once in a while or indulge in that chocolate cake you know you should skip, but don’t let one mistake throw you off balance.
3. You’re exercising less
If you want to lose weight quickly and efficiently it is best to pair your diet with a regular exercise routine. Spend at least 30 minutes a day doing moderate-intensity activity at least five days a week. Whether that is a long morning walk, a bike ride, a yoga class, or an evening at the gym, make sure you don’t leave out the fitness component to your new healthy lifestyle.
4. You skip breakfast
You may think if you skip breakfast you can save those calories for lunch, snack, or dinner time, but by the time you get to lunchtime you’ll be starving and will have a tendency to overeat. Those “saved” morning calories won’t last long. According to the Mayo Clinic, eating a good breakfast helps keep you on track for healthy eating the rest of the day and refuels your body with energy to start the day.
5. You’re not getting enough protein
If you’re focusing on eating smaller portions and fewer snacks, but aren’t consuming enough protein you’ll constantly be hungry. Protein keeps your metabolism running, your energy up, and keeps you full longer as it is harder to digest than most carbohydrates. Include a lean protein in every meal and snack on items that are high in both fiber and protein like nuts, dried fruit, or hummus and veggies.
6. You’re drinking your calories
When you’re trying to lose weight you should be focused on drinking water. Not only does water make you feel full, but it is a pure, calorie free drink that is great for your skin and digestion. If you regularly consume a morning cappuccino, a soda with lunch, and a few beers with dinner you’re consuming a few extra hundred liquid calories a day.
7. You use food as a reward
Many people use food as a reward for completing a long day at work or completing a rigorous workout, but using food as a reward can be a dangerous pitfall when dieting. Emotional eating will sabotage your diet and leave you feeling worse off in the end. Studies show that 78 percent of American consumers are more likely to eat dessert as a treat to reward themselves. Rather than using food as a reward, give yourself an evening in with your favorite show or a new pair of running shoes.