Antioxidant foods can help prevent heart disease and cancer, reduce or control hypertension, or high blood pressure, and slow the effects of aging. These natural substances protect the body from harmful excess free radicals. Foods that are rich in antioxidants are:
Berries – Berries are very tasty, very nutritious, and loaded with antioxidants. That includes blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries.
Broccoli – Vegetables in the broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and Brussels Sprouts family, which are called cruciferous vegetables, can help to prevent cancer and heart disease.
Carrots – Carrots are very rich in the antioxidant, beta carotene, which is also found in beets, sweet potatoes and other orange and yellow vegetables. Beta carotene also helps to protect against cancer, especially of the lung, bladder, breast, and stomach. By the way, cooked carrots have more antioxidants in them than uncooked carrots.
Garlic – Garlic, which is one of the oldest medical and culinary herbs in the world, is loaded with antioxidants that can help avoid cancer, heart disease and the effects of aging. Sulfur compounds give garlic its sharp odor, and contribute to its healing effects. Some studies show that garlic helps heart health by lowering cholesterol and blood pressure.
Red Wine – Limited amounts of red wine have been shown to be good for the heart because of two strong antioxidants found in red grapes – resveratrol, and quercetin. Resveratrol can also protect against cancer and reduce the risk of inflammation, and stroke.
Soy – Soy can help to prevent cancer, lower cholesterol, decrease osteoporosis (bone weakness), and decrease the effects of menopause. Much of the benefits are due to antioxidants called isoflavones.
Spinach – Spinach contains the antioxidant lutein, which can help to protect a person’s vision. Studies have also shown that people who eat spinach are less likely to develop cataracts and other common causes of vision loss.
Tea – Tea has been reported to decrease the risk of cancer, heart disease, stroke, and a number of degenerative diseases. Although it has been assumed by many that green tea has more antioxidants than black tea, recent studies suggest that they are equally effective regarding antioxidant composition.
Tomatoes – Tomatoes, which contain the antioxidant lycopene, can help prevent some cancers, cataracts, and some other causes of vision loss. Some studies have shown that men who eat more tomatoes than other men have much lower rates of prostate cancer, which occurs in African American men more than any other men in the U.S.
Vitamins E, C, & Beta Carotene (a form of Vitamin A) – These three vitamins have possible heart health promoting properties. While the American Heart Association (AHA) does not recommend antioxidant vitamin supplements until more research has been completed, it does recommend a variety of foods that are low in saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol since they provide a natural source of these vitamins, plus minerals and fiber.
Whole Grains – Whole grain cereals are a great source of antioxidants, IF they’re whole grains. The Vitamin E in whole grains is a strong antioxidant that helps to prevent cancer, especially prostate cancer. Some studies also suggest that Vitamin E slows the rate of progression in some persons with Alzheimer’s disease. Whole grains also have a lot of phytic acid (IP-6), an antioxidant that some studies show helps to prevent cancer of the breast, colon and liver.