Studies have shown that eating foods rich in antioxidants helps protect your body from harmful environmental pollutants. By helping to ward off these pollutants, antioxidants present a barrier to heart disease, premature aging and some types of cancer.
The protective barrier antioxidants provide are by neutralizing the free radicals that enter your body. Free radicals are simply chemically active atoms or molecule fragments. They are active because they are electrically charged, either positive, missing electron (s) or negative, containing excessive electron (s). This electrical charge seeks to be neutralized by removing your body to remove (or donate) electrons in the process that damage your healthy cells.
Although free radicals and oxidation occur naturally, the presence of excessive free radicals (generated by pollutants) can cause damage to your body that exceeds what it can naturally fight. Each time a free radical is neutralized by an antioxidant, the antioxidant itself is consumed and is no longer able to defend your body. This is why your body’s level of antioxidants needs to be maintained.
The most antioxidant rich foods are nuts and berries – natural and unprocessed – which make a very tasty and healthy snack.
The top seven antioxidant-rich nuts and berries (in terms of antioxidant content per serving) are:
To ensure that your child gets the full benefit from these nutrition centers, each snack should be at least one serving in size.
For the berries, a single serving is 1/2 cup, and for nuts, a single serving is 1 oz, or about 1/4 cup.