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Diet Diva

Get advice on healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss from expert dietitian Tara Gidus. 

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Super Nutrient of the Week: Antioxidants

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healthy fruitAntioxidants are small, but they pack a huge punch when fighting off disease! These super nutrients help to protect your body from various diseases like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. They also play a role in helping our immune systems stay healthy and help improve health in general. That’s why antioxidants are my super nutrient of the week!

Antioxidants are like knights in shining armor when it comes to fighting off free radicals in the body. Free radicals are the hazardous molecules that damage cells and increase the risk of disease and aging. Antioxidants work by slowing or preventing the oxidative processes that lead to the onset of various diseases, protecting you from the inside out.

The best way to get antioxidants in your diet is to eat foods that represent all colors of the rainbow. Each color provides its own unique antioxidant effects. The produce section is a great place to start! While there aren’t specific dietary recommendations for the total amount of antioxidants needed per day, you should still aim to incorporate as many antioxidant-rich foods as possible daily. Check out some of the great foods listed below that provide antioxidants:

  • Lycopene: Watermelon, tomatoes
  • Anthocyanins: Blueberries, blackberries, cranberries
  • Lutein: All leafy green vegetables – kale, spinach
  • Selenium: Brazil nuts, fish, shellfish, turkey
  • Beta Carotene: Carrots, sweet potatoes, mango
  • Vitamin C: Citrus fruits, kiwi, strawberries, broccoli, peppers
  • Vitamin E: Nuts, seeds, soybean oil, cod liver oil

A super easy way to get antioxidants:  Smoothies!  Pack in the fruits (fresh or frozen) and then throw in some kale or spinach while you’re at it!  If you’re on the go, grab one from Jamba Juice! I don’t care how you get your fruits and veggies--just get them!  Your cells will thank you!

How are you getting your daily dose of antioxidants daily?

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Tags: Cooking Healthy

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About the Author


MS, RD, CSSD, LD/N

Tara Gidus is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition and fitness.

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