If your breakfast consists of just eggs, oatmeal or boxed cereal—or worse, if you routinely skip breakfast—your diet is lacking vital antioxidants that your body needs for optimum health. Get your day off to a healthy start by eating more antioxidants as part of your daily breakfast.
Why is it important for you to eat antioxidants? Because they protect your cells from free radical damage which ages your body and leads to degenerative conditions and other health problems. Plus, antioxidants help with weight loss and to improve your quality of sleep, provide allergy relief, increase energy, and much more. So you can see why it’s important to add more antioxidant-rich foods to your meals, especially breakfast—the most important meal of the day.
How do Antioxidants Work?
To understand how antioxidants work, think of how a peeled apple turns brown after it’s been sitting out for a while. It turns brown because chemicals in the apple react from the exposure to oxygen, called oxidation. Now, if you were to pour some orange or lemon juice on a peeled apple, it wouldn’t turn brown as quickly. That’s because the vitamin C in the citrus juice is an antioxidant, a compound that fights oxidation and helps block cellular damage from free radicals.
Something similar happens in your body. Free radicals are produced in the body from exposure to pollution, toxins, smoking, and your body’s normal metabolism process. These free radicals are highly unstable molecules that rob important elements (including proteins and vital DNA) from your healthy cells in order to stabilize. What’s worse is that every free radical produced in your body sets off a chain reaction of additional free radicals and their chain reactions, and so on and so on. This means they can proliferate at a rapid rate until the chain reactions are cut off by antioxidants.
As more and more cells are damaged by free radicals, your body will start to show signs of aging and your health will deteriorate, leaving you susceptible to develop a host of degenerative conditions and other ailments.
To enhance your defenses against free radical damage, you need to include more antioxidant-rich foods in every meal, starting with breakfast.
Generally, the antioxidants we eat on a daily basis come from plants. The nutrients and vitamins in fruits and vegetables, such as vitamin A, C and E, are known to offer antioxidant protection and other health benefits. However, there are many different types of antioxidants, so it’s important to eat a variety of foods and maintain a nutritional balance for the best results.
10 Easy Ways to Boost Your Antioxidants at Breakfast
Here are 10 simple ways to eat the best antioxidants for breakfast to enhance your health:
- Drink a small glass of 100% fruit juice or vegetable juice every morning. To balance your nutrients, drink a variety of juices throughout the week, such as grape, pomegranate, cranberry, pineapple, carrot, apple and orange juice. Mix it up by combining some of them to create your own breakfast blend.
- Top eggs with your favorite brand of salsa, or better yet, make your own from scratch.
- Add sautéed mushrooms, onions, bell peppers and tomatoes to your omelets.
- Top breakfast cereals with fresh fruit like sliced peaches, bananas, strawberries, etc.
- Add dried cranberries and/or raisins to your oatmeal.
- Toss frozen fruit, low-fat yogurt, nutmeg and some sweetener into a blender for an on-the-go breakfast smoothie. Add ice to the blender for a cool, refreshing way to perk up in the morning.
- Drink green or black tea. Tea is the best source of compounds called catechins, which are potent antioxidants. Green tea contains the best antioxidants because it has three times as many catechins as black tea. However, brew it at home because bottled tea doesn’t offer the same health benefits.
- Spice your hot tea with antioxidant-rich ground cloves and cinnamon. It tastes delicious and it’s good for you. Plus, the smell can be like morning aromatherapy.
- Enjoy a morning or mid-day cup of coffee, but be careful what you put in it. Stopping by the corner coffee shop every day can turn an innocent cup of coffee into a sugar and fat trap. In fact, drinking just one 200-calorie latte or mocha coffee per day can add up to a 21-pound weight gain in just one year!
- Take an antioxidant supplement. To make sure you’re getting enough of the vital antioxidants your body needs to blast free radicals in their tracks, take a nutritional supplement such as Healthy Choice Naturals Maximum Moringa. It provides 500mg of certified organic Moringa Oliefera, which is packed with over 90 nutrients and 46 antioxidants, plus all 8 essential amino acids, as well as flavonoids including Quercetin, Kaempferol, Beta-Sitosterol, Caffeoylquinic Acid and Zeatin. Ounce for ounce, this “miracle tree” packs the most nutritional value than any other plant on Earth! In fact, Moringa Oliefera contains seven times the vitamin C in oranges, four times the vitamin A in carrots, three times the vitamin E in spinach, four times the calcium in milk, and three times the potassium in bananas. Just one Healthy Choice Naturals Maximum Moringa vegicap with your breakfast every day is all it takes to boost your daily antioxidants.
Additional Foods with the Best Antioxidants
Here are some other foods that contain some of the best antioxidants and nutritional value:
- Red Wine: Did you know that you would have to drink more than twice the amount of blackcurrant juice, 7 glasses of orange juice, or 12 glasses of white wine just to match the health benefits of 2 glasses of red wine? It’s true. Red wine contains bioflavonoids that target blood clots and help reduce your risk of stroke.
- Apples: “An apple a day keeps the doctor away,” and as it turns out, apple juice does too. With so many juicers on the market today, it’s never been easier to make your own 100% natural apple juice. Drinking apple juice with your meals can help protect you from the fattening foods you eat. This is because apples help stop fats from turning into cholesterol.
- Blueberries: When in season, fresh blueberries are the richest sources of some of the best antioxidants. Evidence shows that the natural chemicals in blueberries may reverse memory loss because they increase the amount of fluid in the membranes of cells that are responsible for sending signals to the brain. When out of season, frozen blueberries are a good substitute.
- Carrots: Carrots contain beta-carotene that assists the immune system when eaten 5 to 6 times per week. Studies suggest carrots may also guard against stroke. If you’re not a big fan of raw or cooked carrots, try juicing them. For a delicious cup of juice packed with some of the best antioxidants, try juicing a couple of carrots, an apple, a stalk of celery and one-half of a lemon.
- Dark Chocolate: If you’re a “chocoholic,” you’ll be delighted to know that dark chocolate is actually good for your health, especially your heart. It is one of the richest sources of antioxidants compared to other foods. Just keep in mind that “a little dab will do you.” Just a couple squares of dark chocolate per day are all you need to reap health benefits.
- Nuts: Nuts are a convenient, antioxidant-rich snack. Eating as few as three Brazil nuts per day will give you an incredible antioxidant boost. Try a mix of Brazil nuts, almonds, walnuts and cashews for a healthy, on-the-go snack.
How to Tell if a Food Product Contains Antioxidants?
Here a few questions to ask yourself about food products to tell if they are good sources of antioxidants:
- Does the food item contain fresh, frozen or dried fruits and/or vegetables? Read the ingredients list on food labels, and if a product contains these ingredients, it most likely contains antioxidants.
- Does the item contain real, natural fruit and/or vegetable juices? Many juices actually contain more artificial flavorings and sweeteners than real fruit juice, so read the labels to be sure you are getting the real thing with all the natural antioxidants and nutrients.
- Does the label say “whole grain?” Whole grain products contain higher antioxidant values and more nutrients than refined grain products, such as white bread and rolls. Eat “whole grain” products to get the best antioxidants to boost your health.