© Katherine Poehlmann, PhD
Raw vegetables are healthy, and often their fiber content provides needed roughage. However, cooking certain vegetables can increase the amount and potency of antioxidants. Stir-fried, microwaved, or lightly steamed tomatoes, carrots, and spinach are especially rich in antioxidants. Add a little fat (olive oil or other healthy fat) to increase antioxidant absorption.
Eat unsalted nuts with skins intact. The skins contain antioxidants. Almonds are best.
Canned tomato sauces, paste, and juice contain high amounts of lycopene, a powerful antioxidant. Frozen fruits and veggies are generally just as good as fresh in terms of antioxidant levels.
Fruit juices are high in antioxidants but also high in sugar. Best to eat the raw fruit, but if this is not possible, choose unsweetened apple, grapefruit, cranberry, and purple grape juices.
When buying produce, choose deep or bright colors. Green veggies like spinach and string beans, golden veggies like squash, brightly colored berries, and red bell peppers have high levels of antioxidants. Iceberg lettuce is a popular choice for restaurant salads, but it has very few nutrients. Ask for Romaine instead. Black dried beans have more antioxidants than white or red beans. Studies are inconclusive whether “organic” produce contains more antioxidants.
Strong brewed hot tea, especially green tea, has more antioxidants than iced tea, instant tea mixes, or bottled teas stored in the frig. Ice dilutes and cold depletes the antioxidants.
What about chocolate? White contains no antioxidants; milk chocolate has a few; but dark chocolate has high levels. While this may sound like great news for chocoholics, remember that there are also lots of calories in chocolate.
Dr. Poehlmann is the author of Rheumatoid Arthritis: The Infection Connection, available at Amazon.com and major bookstores, or click here to order now.