Some of the healthiest, disease fighting fruits and vegetables might be in your refrigerator right now and you don’t even know it; however, if they’re not, they need to be! Plant-based foods like fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants which help fight off free radicals in your body. In a nutshell, free radicals cause cellular damage which can lead to future disease if not fought off with antioxidants. Free radical damage occurs when any of your cells are exposed to oxygen (oxidation). During this time the cell becomes injured which damages the DNA and thus leads to disease. Things like cigarette smoke, air pollution, pesticides, toxins, alcohol, inflammation and even excess exercise can all promote the presence of free radicals. Now you can see, even more so, why fruits and veggies are so important! Here are 7 of the best disease fighting fruits and vegetables that you need to eat more often!
1. Dried Plums
No longer called prunes, dried plums instead, are one of the best of all of the disease fighting fruits and vegetables out there. Dried plums are sweet to the taste and pack a huge punch when it comes to free radical fighting antioxidants! The antioxidants found in dried plums are suggested to prevent damage caused to the fat in your body. This is actually very important when you consider that your cell membranes and brain cells are both made from fat! In order to get the most from the fruit, buy organic dried plums since they tend to be a fruit heavily sprayed with pesticides.
Another yummy fruit that has the power to help fight off disease are berries. Blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and raspberries all rank near the top of the list of highest-antioxidant containing fruits. Berries help protect the body from inflammation and oxidative stress, fighting off diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and even some cancers.
When it comes to the superman veggie, kale wears the cape! Although kale has certainly grown in popularity in the past few years, most of us still are probably not eating enough kale! Kale is extremely high in antioxidants and some research suggests that kale plays a major role in fighting off cancer. Kale helps prevent the damage caused by free radicals and it is also know to help reduce inflammation. Throw kale in your morning smoothie, enjoy it as a salad or make kale chips to go with your dinner tonight!
Although kale takes the lead, spinach doesn’t fall too far behind in its antioxidant containing properties. Like kale, spinach has been studied for its role in cancer prevention and slowing the reproduction of damaged cells. It also plays a role in calming inflammation which is present in most disease states. Sneak spinach in a green smoothie, enjoy it on your sandwich or even toss it in your pasta sauce and you won't even taste it.
5. Brussel Sprouts
Although it might surprise you, my favorite food on this list is Brussel sprouts! If you are not a fan of Brussel sprouts, they certainly deserve a second chance because of all of the health benefits they can provided for your body. Brussel sprouts are an excellent source of antioxidants and they also aid in the detoxification process. If you’re still boiling your Brussel sprouts or are not eating them because this is the only way you have had them, check out my site The Gypsy Dietitian (ashleyharperevans.com ) for a post dedicated entirely to giving Brussels sprouts a second chance!
6. Alfalfa Sprouts
One of the less commonly eaten high-antioxidant foods is alfalfa sprouts. These funny looking little young seedlings can help protect your cells from damage, lowering your risk of infection and disease. Enjoy organic alfalfa sprouts on salads, sandwiches and soups for an antioxidant punch!
Last but certainly not least, if their rich color doesn’t give it away, beets are another food extremely high in disease fighting antioxidants. Beets have been suggested to provide benefits for your eyes as well as your nerve tissue. They also contain anti-inflammatory properties and can help calm any angry cells! Try roasting beets with a little bit of balsamic vinegar and coconut oil to show your family just how delicious they can be!
As you can see, fruits and veggies do much more for your body than shape the outside, they cure the inside too! Although this list certainly isn’t exhaustive, find ways to incorporate these and any other fruits and veggies into your diet. What is your favorite disease fighting fruit or veggie?