The number of errands and office work is mounting. The daily grind has taken its toll. After a long night at work, you wake up feeling achy and your throat is sore. You look up toward the ceiling, and plead, “Why now?!?” While in school I’d study so much that after a week of exams and stress, I’d get sick. I should’ve prepared myself for the onslaught of late and sleepless nights. I needed a strategy to optimize my performance and health by enhancing my diet, rest, stress management, and exercise routines. You need to do the same. We examine foods and beverages high in antioxidants; a must in everyday life especially during late Fall and Winter.
Antioxidants are important because they inhibit free radicals from damaging healthy cells. The result is prevention of further damage to DNA or cell membranes. Imagine: antioxidants plugging a leak in the dam protecting the village. If the leak isn’t fixed, the result could be disastrous. The leak will get bigger and water will flood the village. Choosing these beverages and foods are a great way to plug that leak.
- Pomegranate Juice
- It’s high in the antioxdant, polyphenol and loaded with folate and vitamin K. Pomegranate juice is known for reducing cardiovascular risk factors, inflammation, arthritis, lower cholesterol, and its antibacterial effects.
- Take a shot of pomegranate juice (try POM Wonderful) in the morning along with our next beverage.
- Green Tea
- Catechin is the main antioxidant in green tea. Green tea has been linked to reduction of bad fats (LDL) and has positive effects on obesity. Green tea also has antibacterial, antiviral, and anticancer properties.
- Curl up with a hot cup of tea with a teaspoon spoon of honey and a lemon wedge to soothe a sore throat or as an alternate to coffee.
- Blueberries have a different array of antioxidants such as: beta-carotene, vitamin E, vitamin C selenium, and polyphenol. Mix your berry intake with blackberries and raspberries.
- Since berries are more plentiful in the summer, freeze some, and put them in a smoothie this winter.
- Cocoa/dark chocolate
- Cocoa is the main ingredient in the making of chocolate, but don’t start scarfing Hershey Kisses (Sorry!). Cocoa is a rich source of flavanols and procyanidins both antioxidants. Cocoa is linked to decreased blood pressure and inhibition of platelet activity.
- Eat dark chocolate that is at least 75-90% cocoa dark chocolate, and avoid brands that are “processed with alkali.”
- Allicin is the major player in garlic along with other healthy compounds. Garlic has shown to be antiviral and antibacterial. Studies have shown the potential benefits of garlic with cardiovascular risk factors like high blood pressure.
- Cook with garlic! If you want, pop a slice in your mouth, just keep the mouthwash handy afterwards.
There are other foods that are also great such as: green leafy vegetables, sweet potatoes, and nuts (Eat Them!). When incorporating these foods and beverages, it’s important to keep in mind that you won’t immediately feel different or better. The key here is prevention and optimization, and these foods are an important part of the equation. Part II: Increased Energy on our next post.
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