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Many doctors and nutritionists recommend eating antioxidant-rich foods in order to improve one's overall health and prevent diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer's, and heart disease, among others. This is because antioxidants are actually capable of repairing and preventing cell and tissue damage within the body. Fortunately, there are many delicious foods high in antioxidants; it should come as no surprise that the best foods to eat for their antioxidant benefits primarily come from the fruit, vegetable, bean, and legume families.
Small red beans and red kidney beans are considered to be two of the most antioxidant-rich foods available. Pinto beans and black beans are also quite high in antioxidants, and all of these beans also contain fiber and protein. It is generally recommended that one eat at least a few servings of antioxidant-rich foods every day. A varied diet is extremely important, however, so be sure to eat some of the numerous other sources of antioxidant-rich foods as well.
Fruits, particularly berries, are excellent sources of antioxidants. Blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, and cranberries are great choices. Aside from these, other antioxidant-rich fruits include apples, pomegranates, plums/prunes, and cherries. Because fruit is high in natural sugars, however, it is important to balance fruit consumption with vegetables. Many vegetables are also antioxidant-rich foods, and some of the best include spinach, kale, artichokes, and even Russet potatoes.
Other antioxidant-rich snack foods include pecans, walnuts, and sunflower seeds. Even some spices used to flavor food can be rich in antioxidants; these are cloves, cinnamon, and oregano. In addition, other, more enticing or indulgent foods also contain antioxidants; some of these are dark chocolate, red wine, and coffee and tea, among others. When all things are taken in moderation, it can be easy to eat a diet rich in antioxidants and important nutrients.
One of the best ways to eat a diet full of antioxidant-rich foods is to try to eat fresh food as much as possible, and avoid processed foods. Minimal preparation of fresh food can help to preserve some of its more potent nutrients, including antioxidants. Remember to wash all fresh fruits and vegetables thoroughly before eating them; even organic ones could have pesticides or bacteria on them. In addition to getting a daily dose of antioxidants, remember to consume lean protein every day, as well as to drink enough water. A diet that focuses too heavily on one nutrient or another will almost invariably become imbalanced, so it is important to consider all nutrients, not just antioxidants.