Note my disclaimer to the right: I am not a medical doctor or dietician. Just a yoga teacher
Let me first say that I believe in a well rounded, diverse vegan diet. And, that unless you are suffering from a specific nutrient deficiency, no one food, supplement, phytochemical, macronutrient, or trace mineral can bring you lasting, vibrant health and glowing energy like that diet.
I think “superfoods” can certainly be part of a healthy diet, but just that. They are not the end all, be all. If you are eating a varied vegan diet full of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, seeds, and nuts you likely are getting all the nutrients you need and then some. And, I’d guess you are certainly getting your fix of antioxidants
What are antioxidants?
Antioxidants are nutrients, like vitamins and minerals, found in plants and help to neutralize free radicals and protect and repair cells from damage caused by free radicals.
What are free radicals?
Very simply put, they are damaging compounds that can hurt DNA and accelerate aging.
A few different antioxidants:
- Vitamins A, C, E
- Selenium – a trace mineral found in brazil nuts, fortified breads, other grain products
There are many sources of antioxidants, here is a short list:
- Blueberries, Acai Berries, Raspberries, Cranberries
- Broccoli, Cabbage, Brussels Sprouts and other cruciferous veggies – good sources of vitamin A, C, E, and high in glucosinolates which stimulate the body’s immune system
- Green Tea
- Oregano – many herbs are antioxidants, but oregano is one of the strongest due to its high levels of phenolic acids and flavonoids.
- Spinach and Watercress
- Sweet potatoes
- Turmeric – a spice that is usually found in yellow curry. It has a golden yellow color due to curcumin, a polyphenol with strong cold and flu fighting properties
There are many other food that are rich in antioxidants including prunes, apples, raisins, plums, red grapes, alfalfa sprouts, onions, and eggplant.
I think it is best to try and get your antioxidants through eating fresh fruits and vegetables as opposed to taking a vitamin or supplement. Food contains all sorts of different nutrients that work together in mysterious ways to promote health. There is ongoing research around complex micronutrients found in fruits and vegetables and new nutrients like quercetin, luteolin, and catechins continue to be discovered. Surely many more are still unknown to us.
For your reading pleasure, here are some interesting articles from experts: