5 Delicious Antioxidant Foods to Eat This Winter

| 2/13/2015 8:31:00 AM


Around this time of year, I begin to miss the bright, colorful fruits and vegetables that I can find fresh in the farmer’s market during the summer. It seems that eating healthy during the summer is sometimes easier, because there is an abundance of fresh, nutrient-dense foods at your fingertips. But getting health-boosting nutrients, like antioxidants, is important all year long.

If, like me, you need a little mid-winter inspiration, here is a list of healthy, high antioxidant foods to eat this winter season. You might be surprised by some of these rich sources of antioxidants, which include black rice, pecans, and dark chocolate.

The Importance of Antioxidants

Many fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants like vitamin C, phenolic compounds, carotenoids, and anthocyanins. Often, the brightest colored fruits and vegetables have the highest antioxidant capacities. Antioxidants help to get rid of harmful reactive oxygen species formed during oxidation, which protects cells from damage. Oxidative damage can contribute to several diseases like Alzheimer’s, heart disease, and cancer, and consuming antioxidants can help protect you from these conditions.

Getting Antioxidants in Winter

You have probably heard that blueberries are great antioxidants. These, and other bright, colorful, high antioxidant foods are easy to find in the summer, but you won’t easily find fresh blueberries on the shelf in the winter months? Not to worry; there are plenty of foods easily available all year long that can give you a sufficient supply of antioxidants.

Black rice. As mentioned earlier, brighter, deeper colored foods often contain more antioxidants. This is true for rice, as well. While white rice is not a highly nutritious food, black rice is actually an antioxidant powerhouse, full of phenolic compounds. Most of the antioxidants in rice are found in the rice bran (the outer layer), which is removed in the production of white rice.[1] Pigmented rice, like black rice, has almost six times the amount of phenolic compounds than white rice. Out of all the colors of rice, black rice has the highest level of antioxidant activity.[2] So instead of using white rice in your next recipe, substitute black rice instead for a healthy alternative.

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