There are many benefits to having an antioxidant-rich diet. The primary role of antioxidants is to stabilize free radicals, and they are believed to have positive effects on the cardiovascular system, lung health, and be powerful immune boosters. It all starts with the cellular life cycle and the promotion of cellular health. Healthy cells equal healthy systems, and healthy systems support better health everywhere, every day.
Interested in adding more cellular support to your diet? Here are four easy ways to boost your daily antioxidant intake and fight against free radicals.
1: Spice Things Up
When looking for ways to pack more antioxidant punch with each meal, it can be easy to place most of the focus on the main ingredients. However, don’t discount the spice rack when it comes to adding in antioxidants. Many commonly used spices are actually antioxidant powerhouses. Incorporating more of them in favorite dishes—or choosing new meals based on antioxidant needs—is a flavorful, easy way to boost the antioxidant benefits of your diet.
Turmeric. Turmeric is also believed to have anti-inflammatory properties, making it a great choice for anyone also concerned with arthritis.
- Ginger. A staple of many Asian cuisines and a favorite in sweets, ginger is rich in antioxidant gingerol.
- Cloves. A fall-familiar flavor, cloves work in both sweet and savory dishes.
- Oregano. Pile it on pizza or put a pinch in pasta, this Italian standby is a great antioxidant option.
- Cinnamon. Another sweet and spicy favorite, Aside from the antioxidant benefits, cinnamon can also be added to drinks and foods instead of sugar for a hint of sweetness without the added calories.
- Paprika. Add smoky heat and an antioxidant boost to your next stew or meat dish with a dash of this favorite.
- Basil leaves. Consider a sprinkle of these in your next salad for a bright, flavorful addition.
- Ground mustard seed. Get more antioxidant power by making your own mustard at home.
- Parsley flakes. It’s not just a garnish. Parsley flakes can be easily added to vegetable sides.
By the sprinkle or pinch, additional spices in dishes can help boost both the food’s favor and antioxidant profiles.
2: Drink Them Down
You don’t have to eat your antioxidants—you can drink them instead. Don’t be taken in by gimmicky sales pitches for sugary infusion drinks in fancy packages, though. There are several common beverages that offer antioxidant benefits—some of which may be surprising.
- Tea. Green tea is known for being an antioxidant, but many other teas are too. A squeeze of lemon or a sprinkle of cinnamon can add even more benefits to your cup.
- Coffee. Coffee contains several powerful kinds of antioxidants, and is a wildly common way many people consume them.
- Orange juice. Or any citrus juice, really. Vitamin C is a great antioxidant, and drinks rich in this are an easy way to sip your way to cellular health.
- Red wine. Watch out for having too much of a good thing, though: remember to drink in moderation and responsibly.
Fans of fast, convenient meals may find turning to smoothies a nutritious and time-saving option for adding extra antioxidants to their diets. Popular antioxidant smoothie ingredients include:
- Blueberries, blackberries—all berries.
- Red fruits, such as cherries, plums, and red grapes
- Citrus fruit, such as lemons, limes, and oranges
- Dark, leafy greens, such as kale and spinach
- Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli
- Root vegetables such as carrots and beets
Put down the peeler, though. Many of the antioxidants in fruits and vegetables are in the skins, so keep them on when and where you can.
3: Have Dessert
It’s true: there are many sweet treats that offer more than sweet tooth satisfaction. Look for desserts containing one or more of the following to get the most good from your sweets:
- Berries, such as strawberries, raspberries, or blueberries. Think pies, cobblers, tarts, or a sweet, simple fruit salad with a sprinkle of confectioner’s sugar.
- Chocolate, the darker the better. Dark chocolate contains more antioxidant power than noted antioxidant acai berries.
- Nuts. Pecans are jam-packed with antioxidants, so anything topped with these confectionary favorites is a good step in the right direction. Walnuts are also a fine, antioxidant-rich choice.
Anything in moderation, right? Just don’t overindulge in the name of boosted cellular health or a wider waist could be waiting.
Or consider an antioxidant smoothie for an after-meal treat—especially if you’ve begun making them in large batches. For those who aren’t interested in dessert, a cup of coffee is a common way to close a meal—and rich in antioxidants. Add a sprinkle of cinnamon for an extra kick.
4: Supplement Your Favorites
Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, getting more antioxidants into your daily diet can be difficult. If adding new foods to your recipe rotation isn’t helping you reach the level you’d like, adding antioxidant supplements to your daily regimen may be a good next step.
Antioxidant supplements are often derived from extracts from fruit, bark, and other plants. They may also include common vitamins, some of which have antioxidant properties. When deciding on an antioxidant supplement to add to your diet, consider any restrictions you may have, health concerns that may be in conflict with taking supplements, or contraindications presented by medications.
Antioxidants are far from a fad, but taking advantage of their health benefits doesn’t have to include gimmicky foods or eating plans. By focusing on antioxidant-rich ingredients and supplementing where necessary with responsibly sourced supplement products, one’s typical diet can have a radical shift toward free-radical fighting, cell-health boosting antioxidant power in no time.
Stephan Maldonado is a digital marketer, health & fitness enthusiast, and aspiring novelist. He is currently a blogger for SHOP.COM, where he writes about a variety of health-related topics.