The Power of Antioxidants, Part II

Now that you know just how awesome antioxidants are, its time to figure out how to find them. This field is just bursting all over with research, so news is constantly streaming in. My job will be to make this easy for you. OK?

Think deep, rich vibrant colors. The deeper the better: more colorful, the richer the antioxidant level. Red, orange, purple, yellow and dark green fruits and veggies are loaded with the Free Radical Fighter--FRF-- (see yesterday's post :) antioxidant beta-carotene. Try apricots, asparagus, beets, broccoli, cantaloupe, carrots, corn, green, yellow and red peppers, kale, turnip & collard greens, nectarine, peaches, pink grapefruit, pumpkin, squash, spinach, sweet potatoes, tangerines, tomatoes, and watermelon. See the splash of color?

Remember when your mom made your drink your orange juice every morning? Well that OJ is full of another FRF antioxidant Vitamin C. Other sources are berries, broccoli, clementines, grapefruit, kale, kiwi, mangoes, melons, oranges, papaya, peppers of all colors, spinach, sweet potatoes, tangerines, tomatoes, and more. Notice the color here, too!

Vitamin E is our next FRF. You'll find rich amounts in nuts and sunflower seeds (be careful if you are trying to control your weight. A few is perfect...too many give you lots of calories.) Also try broccoli, carrots, mustard and turnip greens, mangoes, papaya, red peppers, and spinach.

Selenium is mineral that has proved to be a wonderful FRF antioxidant. Fascinating, but Brazil nuts are loaded (again, lots of calories here) beef, chicken, turkey, tuna, whole grains and breads that are fortified with selenium.

I know when I was a life guard (no, not Bay Watch by any means!!) the only way I knew zinc was in the zinc oxide we used to rub on our noses to prevent sunburn. It turns out that zinc is also a cool FRF. Red meats, turkey, chicken, beans (like black or kidney,) seafood, oysters, nuts, whole grains, fortified cereals and dairy products.

We have still have phytochemicals (there's your red wine, tea) and a kazillion flavonoids (can you say, "dark chocolate?") they have identified so far, but that's enough for now.

How about taking antioxidants in pill form instead? No (unless your doc says to.) The food source is always better. The FRF's are more readily absorbed from the foods, and you are getting lots of other wonderful things in the whole food instead of the supplements. Too big a dose of some of these antioxidants can be toxic, too. Bad news.

Moral of this post? Eating a big variety of deep rich colorful foods isn't just a good idea, it's a way to stay healthier, feel better, and who knows? Maybe you'll even live longer... Back off you evil Free Radicals!