There has never been a more popular time to be an antioxidant as just everyone is after them. Over the last few years they have become as famous as vitamins, which is essentially what they are. Upmarket vitamins of course, as the drinks and bottles of supplement tablets containing the latest must have antioxidants are in great demand, at a high price. As planes return from foreign lands bearing the newest must have unpronounceable fruits, richest in antioxidants, give a thought to this: the capsule product they produce will probably have less antioxidant than that on an average dinner table.
The benefits of including antioxidants in the diet are well known by now, even if some of the claims made by marketers of the must have supplements are a bit exaggerated. What no one disputes is that they needed by our bodies and help to delay and fight against naturally degenerative diseases, especially neurological ones. They also do a marvellous job of fighting against those nasty free radical cells floating around, and boost our immune systems. At the end of the day they are good for our health and we need them, but we don’t necessarily need the ones which have been processed into handy little pills declaring their own wonder properties. Once again our needs can be met through our diets.
The Mediterranean diet which has been proclaimed as one of the healthiest in the world, leading to a much lower level of heart disease, includes many of the natural foods which are high in antioxidants. They are also staple foods in Mediterranean countries when in season. Typical foods included in their daily diet are olive oil, oregano, olives, figs, pomegranates, spinach, beetroot, eggplants, red wine, black coffee, garlic, cinnamon, oranges, lemons, grapefruits, artichokes, bell peppers, tomatoes and apples.
Each of these staples of the Mediterranean diet contains high levels of antioxidants so they are naturally included in the diet, without even a thought being given as to their specific health giving properties. The people just know that their diet is healthy. If one were to emulate the Mediterranean diet it would immediately be full of antioxidants.
In America there are many foods available which also contain them naturally. They are in cornflakes and oatmeal to start the day; snack foods such as dried figs, dates and raisons contain them. The best vegetables for a healthy dose are broccoli, spinach, Brussels sprouts and kale, whilst dried beans also come up with high scores. Herbs and spices also contain good levels of antioxidants so look to use basil, oregano, parsley, mustard seeds, turmeric and curry powder, if you enjoy them.
The biggest choice comes from fruits which can be eaten as they are, turned into salads, put into baked goods or topped with ice creams. Berries and citrus fruits contain the highest level of antioxidants, but there are also mangoes, kiwi fruits and grapes to include. You may be able to get hold of some exotic imported superfruit to try but be aware, as a lot of the reports indicate that they taste like eating dirt, or are way too astringent for the American palate.
All you really need to do to ensure you are including a healthy amount of vital antioxidants into your diet, is to make sure you eat healthily and always include at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables daily. Use olive oil in your kitchen, and drink milk on its own instead of as an addition to drinks. This will ensure your nutrients are always in peak condition and you’ll have a rich variety of tasty food too.