Antioxidants are made up of various vitamins and natural plant chemicals such as carotene, lycopene, lutein, and other substances, which

may play a role in helping to neutralize harmful free radicals in the body. Antioxidants may prevent or fight heart disease, cancer, aging, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, macular degeneration, and more. However, research shows that simply taking antioxidant supplements cannot be the only answer to getting what your body needs. In fact, it’s possible some of these supplements could be harmful if taken in too high a dose. For example, dark chocolate is known to have antioxidant properties, but if taken too much it can over-stimulate the physiology, cause anxiety and other problems. The key to all of this is moderation and a holistic approach. Simple solutions usually do not work because our bodies are just too sophisticated, and require the highest form of care. Below are 10 of my favorite antioxidant rich foods! Enjoy, and don’t forget to eat well all around the board!

1. Lemons: I always think of lemons as the skinny citrus that is rich in phytonutrients! Lemons aid in digestion, speed up your metabolism, and provide many other health benefitsHere are 10 ways lemon water nourishes the mind and body.

2. Goji Berries: Curb your sugar cravings with these sweet guys! A delicious snack, condiment, and great in tea! Goji berries are an Asian herbal medicine for over 5,000 years. They are rich in vitamin A and vitamin C, zinc, iron, phosphorus (B2), vitamin E, and carotenoids, including beta-carotene.

3. Chia seeds: Eaten by Aztecs for strength; chia seeds contain more antioxidants than flax seeds and are an excellent source of omega fatty acids. They are an easily digestible form of protein full of vitamins, minerals and soluble fiber. I love adding chia seeds to smoothies, I’ve also tasted some outrageous chia seed puddings!

4. Legumes: Studies show beans are at the top of the list for antioxidant rich foods; especially red kidney beans, small red beans, black beans and pinto beans.

5. Chlorella: My favorite blue-green algae supplement! Chlorella is known of and used amongst many doctors and dietitians for its incredible health benefits. It is important to note that the quality of chlorella can vary greatly depending on the way it was cultivated, harvested and processed; be sure to know your source well (just like with any food or supplement.) Some of the uses of chlorella include cancer prevention, colds, Crohn’s disease, constipation, bad breath, ulcerative colitis, ulcers, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, help fibromyalgia, help with radiation or chemotherapy side effects, and other conditions.

6. Nuts & Seeds: Pecans, walnuts, sunflower seeds (sunflower butter is amazing, too!)

7. Blueberries: Berries such as cranberries, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries are all known to be great antioxidants. Blueberries specifically are loaded with the healthy plant-chemical, anthocyanins, which give them their pretty blue hue and protect against heart disease. Studies show blueberries may have a positive effect on improving night vision and reducing blood glucose levels.

8. Whole Grains: Oat-based products are especially high in antioxidants. Barley, millet and corn are also good.

9. Leafy Greens: Most dark leafy greens are good sources of vitamins A, C, K, folate, beta-carotene, lutein, and minerals such as iron and calcium. They are also great sources of fiber. Kale, collards and swiss chard are some of my favorites.

10. Herbs & Spices: Spice up your dishes with ground cloves, cinnamon and ginger, dried oregano leaf or turmeric powder!

With love,
Samantha | Food Contributor