Fruits and Veggies That Are Rich In Antioxidants

We have always been told to eat our fruits and veggies.  The problem that most people have is knowing how much to eat and which ones have the most antioxidant benefits.  Recently, the USDA updated its recommended dietary guidelines which now suggest that we eat five servings of a variety of fruits and vegetables daily.  The guidelines indicate that the recommended portion size should be 3-4 ounces each.

While there is really no such thing as a bad fruit or vegetable, some have more nutrient value than others.  Fruits like oranges and grapefruit are especially nutritious due to their high antioxidant concentration of Vitamin C.  Cantaloupe is especially beneficial because it packs a large quantity of Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Potassium. In fact, a one-quarter serving contains more than half potassium as a banana with half of the calories. When it comes to nutrients per calorie, strawberries are hard to beat.  Eight strawberries contain 30% more Vitamin C than a medium orange with 30% less calories.

When it comes to vegetables, broccoli and bell peppers have the most Vitamin C with high levels of potassium.  Both potatoes and tomatoes have the highest concentration of potassium.  As far as nutrients per calorie, broccoli packs nearly twice as much Vitamin C as an orange and as much potassium as a banana with a mere 45 calorie serving of just one medium stalk. You may be surprised to learn that a three ounce serving of shredded leaf lettuce has very high levels of both Vitamin A and potassium.

Now you are beginning to see the importance of consuming a variety of fruits and vegetables in your daily diet.  Keep in mind that in order to get all of the nutrients, they need to be eaten raw as cooking significantly reduces the nutrient levels. Also, many fruits and vegetable that are in cans or jars contain added sugars and other additives to prolong their shelf life. Therefore, when buying canned foods, look for those that are either vacuum packed or are stored in plain water.

With today’s hectic lifestyle, it is easy to understand why so many of us are unable to get our recommended daily amount of nutrients.  Let’s face it, nutritionists recommend that we eat more than eight pounds of fruits and vegetable per week.  I would be surprised if individuals are consuming even half of the suggested quantities.  That’s why natural dietary supplements that are rich in antioxidants have become so popular.  Many supplements have more than enough essential vitamins and minerals in a single capsule. It’s a lot easier to swallow a capsule than to keep running to the market. Also, dietary supplements normally do not contain sugars and carbs that are found in most fruits and vegetables, especially in those that are canned.

Many plants contain phytochemicals.  Phytochemicals provide antioxidant benefits that allow plant-based fruits and vegetable to grow strong and healthy.  A portion of those phytonutrients are passed on to those who eat it. Tomatoes, for example, contain a powerful antioxidant called lycopene.  Another phytonutrient, beta-carotene, is found in carrots.

Regardless of how you slice it, we can all benefit greatly from eating a variety of fruits and vegetables every day.  They not only taste good, but they are good for you too. Remember, the more antioxidant-rich foods you consume, the healthier you will be and you will have the energy you need to accomplish your daily tasks.

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