An antioxidant is a nutrient that occurs naturally in many fruits and vegetables. To function properly, our bodies need a daily supply of antioxidants. These disease fighting nutrients are like having an insurance policy for your body; providing protection for tissues and when needed, repairing damage that has been done. Some examples include: vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene and lycopene.
In 1999, the American Heart Association published a Science Advisory (Tribble 1999) regarding antioxidant consumption and risk for coronary heart disease. It stated: "the most prudent and scientifically supported advice for the general population is to consume a balanced diet with emphasis on antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables and whole grains." Artichokes and beans may not be at the top of your list of favorite foods, but when it comes to antioxidants, these veggies earn a coveted place. They are among a growing variety of foods found to contain high levels of these disease-fighting compounds.
Using the latest research technologies, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) nutrition scientists measured the antioxidant levels in over 100 different foods including fruits, vegetables, nuts, dried fruits, spices and cereals. The top 20 ranked foods that interfere with or prevent damage from free radicals include:
Add more color to your market basket with antioxidant- rich fruits and vegetables. For more information check out fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org