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Saturday, January 26, 2013

PUMP UP YOUR ANTIOXIDANT POWER: SURPRISING ANTIOXIDANT SOURCES




There’s little scientific support for the claim that taking antioxidant supplements can shield you from these conditions, according to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. However, a number of studies have shown that people who eat plenty of antioxidant-packed foods may have a lower risk of chronic disease. In addition to shooting for at least nine servings of vibrantly colored veggies and fruits each day, try including these lesser-known antioxidant sources in your diet:

1) Popcorn. In a 2012 study from the University of Scranton, scientists discovered that popcorn contains greater concentrations of polyphenols (a type of potent antioxidant) than fruits and veggies do. Through a series of laboratory tests, the study’s authors also found that the popcorn hull—that crunchy bit that tends to get caught in your teeth—provides the highest concentration of polyphenols.

2) Cinnamon. Spicing up your coffee, tea, cereal, or oatmeal with cinnamon can add more antioxidants to your day—as well as protect your heart from harmful blood fats known as triglycerides, according to a 2011 study from Pennsylvania State University.

3) Pistachios. Introducing pistachios into a healthy diet can increase your antioxidant levels and may enhance heart health in people with high cholesterol, a 2010 study from the Journal of Nutrition suggests.

4) Coffee. Skip the decaf—a 2011 study from the Journal of Physical Chemistry B shows that the caffeine found in coffee offers powerful antioxidant effects.

5) Eggs. In a 2011 study, University of Alberta researchers demonstrated that two amino acids available in eggs (tryptophan and tyrosine) have high antioxidant properties.

6)The cocoa in chocolate contains flavonoids, antioxidants that fight blood vessel damage and prevent blood clots, which may lead to stroke.

A Swedish study found that men who ate the most chocolate (2.2 oz) had a 17% lower risk of stroke than men who didn’t indulge at all or very little. While the research did not explore the type of chocolate consumed, dark chocolate contains more cocoa than milk chocolate.

Chocolate’s not your thing? Green and black tea, red wine, blueberries, strawberries and garlic are also rich in flavonoids.

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