You’ve probably heard of antioxidants in terms of their health benefits. Antioxidants stop a chemical reaction in your body known as oxidation. Oxidation is harmful because it creates free radicals — molecules that react very strongly within your body.
Some of their reactions are positive, but others can damage your cells or even cause cell death. That can lead to heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and other maladies.
People who have Parkinson’s disease have too little dopamine in their brains. When the body processes dopamine, it produces a heavy dose of free radicals. These, in turn, weaken and destroy brain cells.
You can see why eating foods that contain antioxidants are good for you, whether you have Parkinson’s or not. Knowing which foods are high in antioxidants will help you to make good choices when you’re buying food, choosing recipes, and cooking.
Many fruits and vegetables are on the list of foods with antioxidants. Because Vitamin C is high in antioxidants, it follows that fruits and vegetables with lots of that vitamin have lots of antioxidants, too. Oranges, other citrus fruits, apples, cranberries, grapes, apricots, watermelon, and berries of all kinds are good sources of Vitamin C. More exotic fruits such as the acai berry and amla fruit have also made news as “superfoods,” in part because of the large amounts of antioxidants they contain.
Tomatoes, broccoli, and spinach are also good vegetable sources of Vitamin C. I know; tomatoes are really a fruit, but whatever food category you put them into the bottom-line is that they’re good for you. If you’re fond of eating potatoes and cabbage without cooking them, you can add them to this list, along with bell peppers, leafy green vegetables, and walnuts.
Foods that contain Vitamin E are also high in antioxidants. Leafy green vegetables are on this list too — along with all kinds of nuts. Wheat germ and sesame seeds, sesame oil, fish oil, vegetable oil, and whole grains will all give you lots of antioxidants.
Be sure not to destroy the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants by overcooking your foods. Although some foods have to be cooked very well for safety (such as beef, chicken, and eggs) you can usually eat raw or lightly steamed vegetables safely. Try eating raw fruits instead of cooking them into high-fat pastries or other desserts; not only will you get all the nutritional benefits, but you’ll get lots of fiber, too.
Choose recipes that include other foods that are excellent sources of antioxidants. Onions, shallots, leeks, chives, and garlic can add more than their delicious flavors to your cooking. They’re all loaded with antioxidants!
You can see that you don’t have to give up eating well in order to take in antioxidants. In fact, you’ll be eating well in every sense.