It seems everywhere you go it’s blueberry this and pomegranate that. And, justifiably so. These powerhouses are nutrient-rich, jam-packed with antioxidants. Why do we want to eat foods high in antioxidants? They neutralize the free radicals which cause cell damage. It’s this cell damage that ultimately can lead to inflammation, disease, and cancer.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I love blueberries and pomegranates. But, in our rush to embrace the latest antioxidant food craze (blueberries, cranberries, pomegranates) we’re overlooking some very high-antioxidant foods that are probably sitting ignored in our cupboards.
“What?” You ask, “What could possibly be higher in antioxidants than my beloved wild blueberry?” Well, how about the small red bean? That’s right, I said “bean.” The small red bean, also called Adzuki beans, actually has more antioxidants per serving size than the wild blueberry. And the red kidney bean and pinto bean have more antioxidants per serving size than a serving of cultivated blueberries.
What other foods are high in antioxidants? For starters, there are artichoke hearts, blackberries, prunes, pecans, spinach, kale, and plums.
The truth is, there are many common foods high in antioxidants and you should not just restrict yourself to one particular food source. Why? Well, have you ever heard the expression, “eat your colors?” That refers to the fact that foods are in different color “families” containing different types of antioxidants which have different benefits. For example, the yellow-orange color family of peaches and nectarines help our immune systems. The purple-red color family of foods (pomegranates, plums, berries) helps reduce inflammation. It’s important to eat foods from all color groups to reap the full benefits of antioxidants.
The good news is that you can eat healthy foods high in antioxidants (by eating them raw, cooking them, or juicing them yourself) without having to pay a high price for the “flavor of the month” antioxidant juices being peddled in the supermarkets.
So, give your blueberries some company at the dinner table. Invite some beans, spinach, and artichoke hearts and enjoy your antioxidants!