“They fight cancer.”

That’s mostly all people know about antioxidants, but do you know why? How important is it to get antioxidants in your daily diet? What foods are antioxidants highest in? Well, I’ll tell you!

First, the why of antioxidants is really only important for the health curious cats like me, so if all you really want to know is that they help fight cancer, feel free to skip to the next paragraph. For those that are interested, an antioxidant is a molecule that inhibits the oxidation of other molecules. Oxidation is a chemical reaction involving the loss of electrons or an increase in oxidation state. Oxidation reactions can produce free radicals. In turn, these radicals can start chain reactions. So why is a free radical so bad? Just a few free radicals most likely won’t do so much damage, but at high levels, free radicals may cause cell damage. Your cells start malfunctioning and some experts believe that this may be a factor in some age-related health conditions. As this happens throughout your life more and more cells are damaged which can lead to an over production of cells which leads to cancer. This is why it’s important to get antioxidants in your diet every day. Antioxidants stop the cell damage soon after it starts if you have enough in your system.

How do free radicals occur in your body?
Free radicals can start when your body burns sugars for energy in the body. This is why you should keep unnatural sugars and sweeteners to a minimum. Free radicals can also occur when your body breaks down certain medicines and through pollutants in the air and from cigarette smoke. The more you keep these things out of your body, the better off you are; however, if you do consume any of these, make sure you get plenty of antioxidats in your diet that day to balance it all out.

What foods are highest in antioxidants?
Antioxidants are naturally found in vitamins such as beta-carotene, selenium, and vitamins E and C. You can take supplements of these vitamins; however, it is best to get them as nature intended via fruits and vegetables. So which foods are high in these vitamins?

  1. Blue, purple, and red grapes
  2. Blueberries
  3. Red berries
  4. Nuts
  5. Dark green veggies (broccoli, spinach, kale, mustard greeens)
  6. Sweet potatoes and orange vegetables (carrots, butternut & acorn squash)
  7. Tea (green tea is best)
  8. Whole grains (get bread with NO flour, not even whole wheat flour. Try Ezekial 4:9)
  9. Beans (lentils, black eyed peas, kidney beans)
  10. Fish