A crisp article on antioxidants, their benefits, how to incorporate them into our diets, and more!
Antioxidants are natural biochemicals – some of them giving them the color that fruits and vegetables contain [Sears et al., T5 Wellness].
Why do we need Antioxidants?
To understand the importance of antioxidants, let’s first look at an essential function in our bodies – oxidation. Our body uses the energy from the food we eat; the process is called metabolism, and it releases oxidants or free radicals as a by-product. Free radicals cause wear and tear or aging and can also damage cells’ DNA. So, where do antioxidants come to the rescue? Antioxidants are biochemicals that counterbalance oxidants, the exhaust created by metabolism in our bodies.
In a nutshell, the virtue of antioxidants is that they neutralize free radicals in our bodies, helping avoid tissue damage and chronic inflammation! They also keep our immune system healthy [Effects of antioxidants on immune system aging, Fuente, et al.].
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Simple tips to include antioxidants in our diets (and in our kid’s diet too)
A straightforward rule of thumb that I follow is to add as much color to the plate as possible. Also, it is recommended to eat ten servings of fruits and vegetables every day [The Healthy Brain Book, Sears et al.]. Although this might sound taxing, if you consciously plan it out, it is very manageable. Here’s what works for us, and you might try for yourself.
Now the plate doesn’t always turn out to be as colorful as we’d like it to be, especially with our son. To that, following few things work for us, and you might try for yourself.
- Eat veggies and fruits ourselves making it very normal for kids to ask for those.
- Avoid buying junk food and bringing it home, so that kids reach out to cucumbers or fruits as a snack.
- Mid-meal can comprise of carrots, blueberries, seasonal fruits, cucumbers, and likes.
- Snack on Blueberries during work. Berries are very rich in antioxidants, therefore, widely regarded as a superfood.
- Target almost ten servings (fist-sized) of fruits and vegetables. We have a ten foods to eat daily list which has enough antioxidants.
- Eat a variety, eat colors! Plenty of antioxidants are found in different fruits and vegetables.
As a parting note and a gentle reminder, please avoid junk food – it generates excessive toxins/free radicals.