Where to Find Antioxidants
By Maria England, ABS Team Member and NDTR
As we learn more about antioxidants the more we realize how important they are! In everyday life we create or consume free radicals, this can be through simply breathing and exercising, which both are essential to a healthy life. These free radicals then attack healthy cells and can make us more prone to heart disease and certain cancers. But with the help of antioxidants we can combat these free radicals! Antioxidants can be found in a variety of fresh foods, such as fruits and vegetables and some of the main antioxidants are carotenoids, Vitamin C, and Vitamin E.
Vitamin C is one of the most well known antioxidants, since we regard it as an important vitamin for staying healthy! Not only does vitamin C boost our immune systems, it also helps with the production of collagen and helps us absorb iron and folate. Vitamin C is known for boosting our immune systems and by doing so it also helps to reduce the damage of our cells. When we do get sick it causes the destruction to healthy cells and vitamin C helps protect against this. Vitamin C is most commonly known for being in citrus fruits, but it can also be found in vegetables such as sweet peppers, broccoli, and potatoes.
Vitamin E is found in vegetable oils, which are often found in salad dressings, whole grains, seeds, nuts, and peanut butter. It is a major antioxidant because it fights against free radicals to reduce the chance of cancer and heart disease. It also helps to reduce our chances of developing cataracts as we age.
Carotenoids are most famous for being found in carrots and giving vegetables and fruits their bright yellow, orange, and red color. They are also known for being processed into Vitamin A, which is best known for helping with eyesight. There are actually over 600 types of carotenoids, with the most famous being beta-carotene, lycopene, and lutein. They are known for fighting free radicals and reducing the chance of cancer. Spinach, tomatoes, carrots, Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, and winter squash are only some of the few vegetables and fruits to contain carotenoid!
Eating more fresh vegetables and fruits will help increase the amount of antioxidants you consume. The recommended amount of fruit is about 2 cups a day, where as vegetables you should have about 2 ½ cups a day. A variety of each is recommended since every fruit and vegetable has different nutrients full of antioxidants! You can always top your ABS Pancakes off with some fresh fruit or add them into your ABS Pancake mix to help add a little bit of fruit to your breakfast!