Antioxidants. The term is easily tossed about, but what are anti-oxidants, where are they found and why are they good for you? Antioxidants are substances found in fruits and veggies that may protect against cellular damage by free radicals. The National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute states that damage from unstable free radical molecules may lead to cancer. Munch on these top antioxidant fruits and veggies and you may lower your risk of health-related problems.
1. Savor sweet potatoes. These tasty tubers contain loads of beta carotene (also found in many other orange foods). According to The National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute, studies have shown a correlation between beta carotene and a reduction in the incidence of gastric and cancer overall.
2. Say "to-may-to" or "to-mah-to!" Tomatoes are a rich source of lycopene. This antioxidant is so potent it has been thought to decrease the risk of chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease, according to a study cited by the National Institutes of Health, US National Library of Medicine.
3. All hail kale! This super power food contains so many wonderful nutrients and vitamins. Kale is especially high in lutein, an antioxidant associated with eye health.
4. Aye, aye spinach. A good source of alpha-tocopherol (or vitamin E), one-half cup of cooked spinach provides 1.9 milligrams or 10 percent of the FDA's recommended daily value. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, vitamin E has been shown to reduce the incidence of lung cancer and other cancers in male smokers.
5. Make room for berries. Berries are a treasure trove of vitamin C, a key antioxidant that works hard to protect your body against heart disease, high blood pressure, the common cold, cancer, osteoarthritis, macular degeneration (age-related), asthma, pre-eclampsia and more, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.
6. You can with cantaloupe. Cantaloupe is refreshing and an excellent source of vitamin A from beta carotene. One cup of cubed cantaloupe also provides 110 percent of the FDA's daily value of Vitamin A. Start your day with fresh chunks of this yummy melon. Or add a scoop of lime sherbet on top of a serving of cantaloupe to sneak a full day's worth of vitamin A right into your dessert.
7. Red grapes are great. One cup of these juicy little globes contains as much as 1.25 milligrams of resveratrol, a powerful antioxidant. The U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health reports of studies suggesting that resveratrol has anti-aging and anti-cancer properties. While more research needs to be done, resveratrol shows promise as an antioxidant.
8. Red pepper, you're so sweet. This delicious pepper isn't hot or bitter, but crisp, juicy and sweet. And it's jam-packed with antioxidant power in the form of vitamin C — one-half cup offers 142 milligrams.
9. Gotta love guava. If vitamin C is a super nutrient, guava is a super fruit. One half cup contains 188 milligrams of vitamin C, according to Health.gov. Eat the fruit raw, juice it or add to a smoothie for a delicious antioxidant booster.
10. Buy broccoli. Broccoli is a phytonutrient-rich antioxidant source. This multi-purpose veggie offers vitamin C, vitamin E, lutein, manganese and zinc. These antioxidants are powerful in reducing the cellular damage done by free radicals known as oxidative stress.