In today’s society, many of us eat processed foods, are exposed to toxins in our environment and are consumed by stress at a young age. This lays the foundation for the proliferation of free radicals. Free radicals cause damage--called oxidative damage-- to the proteins in our cells, our DNA and our cell membranes. Nerve cell damage can eventually lead to diseases such as cancer. Antioxidants help prevent that damage from happening.
We all have both antioxidants and free radicals inside of our bodies; however, when antioxidant levels in the body are lower than that of free radicals, oxidation wreaks havoc in the body. The result: Accelerated aging, damaged or mutated cells, broken-down tissue, the activation of harmful genes within DNA, and an overloaded immune system.
This week’s #bebetter52 challenge is to eat a “rainbow” of antioxidant-rich foods. Whether you nibble berries or make a complete salad, focus on consuming antioxidants and keeping your body healthy.
Antioxidants, found in substances such as vitamin C and E, help fight and remove damaging oxidizing molecules from the body. Consuming antioxidant-rich foods neutralizes our body’s free radicals and decreases the formation of new ones (stanford.edu).
Below is a list of color-coded foods with the highest levels of antioxidants (rd.com):
Red: grapes, strawberries, raspberries, cherries, red bell peppers, beets
Orange: oranges, squash
Yellow: onions and Corn
Green: kale, spinach, brussels sprouts, broccoli, cilantro
Purple: plums, prunes, eggplant
In the heat of the summer, salads are a perfect way to stay cool and refreshed while helping your body stay clean and healthy. Try creating antioxidant rainbow salads by using these fruits and vegetables. Antioxidant salads not only provide your body with a healthy defense against damaging molecules, but they also serve as a tasty, easy-to-make meal.