Your body is under constant attack from something called free radicals. Free radicals are marauding molecules that are missing an electron in their outer shells. This bit of science means that they are unstable and volatile and cause damage wherever they go.
Free radicals are responsible for lots of serious health problems because, as they move around your body, they “steal” electrons from other molecules which in turn become free radicalized themselves and go on to steal electrons from other molecules. This chain of reactions can continue for many days at a time.
The damage caused by free radicals includes:
- Hair loss
- Macular degeneration and other eyesight issues
- Joint problems such as arthritis
- Systemic inflammation
- Compromised immune system function
Free radicals are caused by the very air we breathe – a small percentage of oxygen “goes bad” and free radicals are the result. Free radicals are also caused by pollution, stress, too much sun, and an unhealthy diet.
Luckily, we have a defense against free radicals – antioxidants. Antioxidants have the ability to give up an electron without becoming unbalanced themselves. In short, they can stop the free radical chain reaction from continuing longer than it has to. This is nothing but good news for your health.
Free radical-fighting superfoods contain lots of antioxidants and these are five of the best!
I know, you are wondering what chocolate is doing on a list of so-called health foods but I’m not talking regular chocolate but really dark, high quality chocolate made from 70% or more cocoa solids. Low in added sugar, dark chocolate contains loads of powerful antioxidants and is one of the best (and tastiest) antioxidant superfoods around.
2. Dark leafy greens
Spinach, kale, and dark green cabbage are all excellent low calorie antioxidant superfoods. Each one provides a mighty antioxidant punch as well as lots of iron and other important nutrients. For best results, cook lightly to preserve the antioxidant properties of these super greens as too much heat can destroy their antioxidant content.
3. Coffee and tea
Both coffee and tea contain a lot of antioxidants which makes them very healthy and beneficial. Some people are wary about the caffeine content of these beverages but in moderate amounts, there really isn’t any reason for concern unless you have high blood pressure or are very caffeine-sensitive.
Forget about blended coffee and tea drinks that contain a ton of sugar and fat – that is not what you need. Instead, choose simple drinks like espresso and plain green and black teas. Skip the sugar as that may undo some of the antioxidant properties of your beverage. If you need some extra sweetness, add stevia or raw honey which is another superfood.
Raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, strawberries – these are all awesome antioxidant superfoods. Buy fresh or frozen as available; it doesn’t really matter. I like to combine the antioxidant power of berries with the probiotic power of Greek yogurt and often have a cup of yogurt mixed with half a cup of different berries as a tasty but healthy treat. It’s creamy and delicious and a very healthy alternative to ice cream or frozen yogurt.
5. Red grapes and grape juice
Lots of people believe that the occasional glass of red wine is very healthy and they are right but, did you know, it’s the grapes from which the wine is made that contain almost all of the benefits. Red grapes and grape juice is a very tasty and refreshing way to top up your antioxidant levels. Try freezing grapes and eating them like candy for a very healthy after-dinner treat. Eat the skins and not just the flesh to get the greatest benefit from red grapes.
Free radicals are out to get you but you don’t have to let them win the battle. Make sure you eat plenty of free radical-fighting antioxidant superfoods to stop those free radicals doing you harm.