Although recent research determined antioxidants don’t boost female fertility, they can do a lot for your health! In moderation, antioxidants have the potential to naturally make you feel healthier and might help prevent some disease. Do you know why or how? Continue reading to find out.

What exactly are Antioxidants?

Antioxidants are free radical neutralizers. Free radicals are formed naturally during exercise and the body’s natural processing of food into energy. You can also be exposed to free radical in the environment (think pollution, cigarette smoke). These free radicals damage cells in your body by way of “oxidative stress” and make it harder for your body to heal. Antioxidants work to neutralize these free radicals to prevent damage to cells and to help repair the damage already done.

The reason why consuming foods rich in antioxidants is so important for our health is that we can’t help these free radicals from forming, but we can work to prevent further damage caused by them. So how can you find which foods contain antioxidants?

One of the simplest ways to identify which foods can aid in making you a healthier you is to let the colors of the produce guide you. Below, there is a list of color groups and the foods that contain antioxidants associated within those color groups.

Dark Purples and Black Blueberries, black raspberries, blackberries, black currants, black plums, black cherries, purple cabbage and eggplants all have anthocyanins. This is an antioxidant that might help in preventing inflammation, diabetes, and maybe even some cancers.

Reds Tomatoes and watermelon have a high level of lycopene, an antioxidant known to fight heart disease and some cancers. Beets contain anthocyanins, one of the most powerful antioxidants. Strawberries are also rich in a variety of flavonoids, and red raspberries are a good source of polyphenols.

Bright yellows and oranges Summer squash and zucchini are both good sources or lutein and zeaxathin, carotenoids that protect eyesight. Carrots contain beta-carotene and alpha-carotene. Pumpkins are good for your daily dose of alpha and beta-carotenes along with lutein and sweet potatoes for carotenes and anthocyanins. By consuming carotene, it can help optimize your fertility says the National Institutes of Health.

GreensArtichokes, asparagus, broccoli and most leafy greens are great for glutathione which is an antioxidant naturally made in the liver and it takes care of removing toxins in the liver and reinforcing antioxidant function. Spinach, collard greens, and kale have antioxidant properties that keep our eyes healthy.

Tip – Remember, everything in moderation. Overconsumption of anything can be too much of a good thing.

Recipes

Watermelon Salad

Ingredients:

  • Red seedless watermelon
  • Feta cheese
  • Fresh basil
  • Toasted pine nuts
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Ground black pepper

Directions:
Cube or slice red (seedless) watermelon. Top it with crumbled feta and shreds of fresh basil and toasted pine nuts. Lastly, very light drizzle extra virgin olive oil and freshly ground black pepper.

Tomato Salad

Ingredients:

  • Tomatoes of various sizes and colors
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper
  • Mozzarella
  • Basil leaves

Directions:
Slice or if you prefer, half or quarter tomatoes. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil over and add your favorite balsamic vinegar. Add some next fresh sea salt and a crack of black pepper to taste. Finally, top with fresh mozzarella (buffalo is good), and garnish with torn fresh basil leaves.

Red Pepper Sandwich or Pasta Topper

Ingredients:

  • Sweet red bell peppers
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt

Directions:
Halve or quarter sweet red bell peppers and grill until caramelized or very browned. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil and sea salt on top and your sandwich or pasta awaits this flavor boosting topping!

Blueberry French Toast Topper

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Blueberries
  • Maple syrup
  • Water

Directions:
Gently heat blueberries and 2-3 tbsp.’s of water in a medium to large skillet. After you bring it to a boil, add maple syrup to sweeten. So good over French toast!

 

Additional Resources

http://www.webmd.com/diet/antioxidants-in-fruits?page=1
http://www.traveltowellness.com/antioxidant-rich-summer-foods