The culinary world is vast and most people today will only try a fraction of what food is available to them. It can be easy to stick to comfort foods, but variety is the spice of life, and exploring new options is not only fun, but it can have added health benefits.
There are a number of antioxidant-rich foods in the world and many of them are worth a try.
Below is a closer look as to why antioxidants matter in the first place as well as a laundry list of foods high in antioxidants that you should give a try.
Why antioxidants matter?
The term antioxidant has somewhat lost its shine in recent years as many marketing strategies revolve around health and wellness. While an antioxidant isn’t the latest discovery in the world of health and wellness, it is important to realize that antioxidants are an iconic classic that can play a significant role in ensuring your body is working efficiently.
Below is a closer look into why antioxidants matter and why you should try and add them to your diet via antioxidant-rich foods (and supplements).
Every moment within your life, a chemical reaction is taking place. From DNA replication to the breakdown of foods you eat, reactions are constantly occurring.
While many chemical reactions within the body cause no issue, some can result in byproducts known as reactive oxygen species (ROS). These molecules are highly unstable due to their structure, which contains unpaired electrons.
The instability of the lone electron drives the molecule to find an electron to pair with and steal. When these molecules steal electrons from structures and proteins within the cell, it contributes to oxidative stress. When a cell is placed under oxidative stress that cell is unable to perform its job as efficiently.
Many different ailments have been linked to chronic oxidative stress and trying to mitigate the overtaking of ROS and free radicals is important and is where antioxidants come into play.
Antioxidants are molecules that prevent free radicals and ROS from causing damage to surrounding structures. Antioxidants act as electron donors to help re-establish stability in those molecules.
Because the body inherently produces ROS and free radicals, antioxidants are what allow cells to continue working without worrying about oxidative damage. Within the body, there are a number of endogenous antioxidants (endogenous meaning that it’s produced naturally in the human body), which include glutathione, alpha-lipoic acid, coenzyme Q10, ferritin, uric acid, and bilirubin.
While these endogenous molecules help to keep the unstable molecules at bay, they sometimes need additional support from dietary antioxidants.
Foods that are high in antioxidants
Food is the means by which the body obtains nearly all of its building blocks. Every food choice you make plays a direct role in the tools your body has to work with.
Consuming foods high in antioxidants can help to restore oxidative balance and fight back against free radicals. Food sources can include endogenous antioxidants, but for the most part, many dietary antioxidants are derived from plant compounds, which are readily able to donate electrons due to their large, stable molecular structure.
Below is a closer look at some of the foods that are high in antioxidants that can help to protect your body from oxidative stress and its associated ailments.
Keeping free radicals at bay is no easy task and through dietary support, you give your body a better chance at accomplishing it to allow you to live a happy and healthy life.
Green-lipped mussels are mollusks that are native to New Zealand. As the name implies, it has a unique green appearance. The mollusk is unique in that it is one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acid.
The unique nutrition offered by the green-lipped mussel along with the low environmental impact of cultivating them has profoundly increased interest in it from the world of health and fitness. The specific nutritional cocktail provided by the mollusk is particularly ideal for joint support. While you could spend all day eating mollusks, an extract can be derived from the green-lipped mussel known as GLME.
MitoQ Joint pairs the powerful antioxidant properties of MitoQ with the nutritional powerhouse offered by GLME to provide an ideal nutritional supplement to support the immune system and joint health.
Turmeric is widely accepted as one of the healthiest, most powerful spices on the planet. Commonly utilized in dishes like curry or beverages like golden chai, turmeric is a great way to add some spice while simultaneously providing healthful benefits.
From an antioxidant perspective, turmeric is an excellent source of curcuminoids. The most prevalent within turmeric is curcumin, which is believed to be the molecule that gives turmeric its many healthful benefits.
When talking about antioxidant-rich foods, berries are the quintessential pick for most people. Berries are full of great sources of antioxidants. The antioxidants found within berries include anthocyanins, resveratrol, and ellagic acid in addition to the antioxidant vitamins A, C, and E. While you have most likely tried standard berries, you may have never tried goji berries.
Goji berries are a small berry native to Asia and will typically come dried. The berries are full of many of the antioxidants described above, along with iron and fiber. The sweet and slightly sour flavor profile of goji berries makes them a very popular addition to an antioxidant-packed smoothie or even to top off a yogurt parfait.
Standard non-berry fruits are also an excellent source of antioxidants. The saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” rings true, not only for their nutrition but also because they contain antioxidant vitamins like vitamin C.
If you’re looking to try a new fruit, sampling fruits like dragon fruit, passion fruit, and loquats is a great way to add nutritional diversity to your diet while simultaneously increasing your antioxidant intake.
There are many foods today that contain antioxidants and while you should always try and get your nutrition through your diet, the antioxidant supplements available today provide a compelling way to get more antioxidants into your diet than you ever could before with diet alone.
The main advantage of antioxidant supplements is that you give your body a healthy dose of antioxidants on a regular basis. Eating copious amounts of fruit on a daily basis can get old pretty fast, not to mention that some fruits can come with a lot of sugar (natural sugar albeit, but still a lot of it).
Supplements allow you to control the number of antioxidants you consume on a regular basis. When dealing with chronic oxidative stress, occasional antioxidant consumption simply does not cut it. Staying consistent over a period of a couple of months is what is needed to truly support your body at a cellular level and mitigate oxidative stress.
Below is a closer look at some of the best antioxidant supplements available today.
One of the most important antioxidant molecules found within the body is CoQ10. The CoQ10 molecule serves a dual purpose within the body. On one hand, it acts as a transport molecule within the cellular component known as the mitochondria. The mitochondria converts glucose into ATP, which is the usable form of energy for the cell. With this function, CoQ10 acts as a transporter of electrons within the electron transport chain, which enables the organelle to produce ATP.
The other function of CoQ10 helps to protect the mitochondrial membrane from oxidative damage.
While CoQ10 is naturally occurring within the mitochondrial membrane, over time its levels can decline due to a number of factors. When CoQ10 declines it leaves the mitochondria open to oxidative stress.
This is where MitoQ steps in as an antioxidant supplement. MitoQ is a specially formulated version of CoQ10 that is readily absorbed and implemented into the mitochondrial membrane. With MitoQ supporting the mitochondrial membrane, it is able to function with a lot less oxidative stress. The mitochondria can function at their best when antioxidant and free radical balance is achieved, and MitoQ can help to restore that balance and revitalize mitochondria affected by oxidative stress.
Curcumin is an antioxidant derivative of turmeric. While turmeric is an excellent source of orange pigmented curcumin, it only contains a small percentage by weight.
A great alternative is to supplement a purified form of turmeric that only has curcumin to get more antioxidants into your diet. Longvida® Curcumin is a specially formulated curcumin that is highly bioavailable.
MitoQ +Curcumin contains MitoQ and highly bioavailable antioxidant-rich ingredient Longvida Curcumin®, that can help to support gastrointestinal and brain health.
In summary, with the sheer number of different foods high in antioxidants, you are sure to at least find some that meet your specific flavor profile.
Green-lipped mussel, turmeric, berries, and fruit just scrape the surface of what’s available to add to your recipe book. If trying new food is not your speed, you can still benefit from these foods by opting for a more convenient supplement.
Step out of your comfort zone and try something new — you’ll never know what you’re missing out on until you give it a try!