It’s the Fall and leaves are turning orange and brown from tannin oxidation. Much like with leaves, oxidation, along with moisture and air, cause orange-brown rust to form on iron. In OUR BODIES, “rust” or “oxidation” shows up in the form of cell damage, disease and premature aging. I like to think of ANTIOXIDANTS as “rust-proofing” for our bodies. A diet rich in naturally occurring antioxidants, each with its unique chemical behaviors and biological properties, can help neutralize our “rust” and keep us looking and feeling our healthiest. Here’s your delicious guide to colorful foods and savvy inspiration to boost your rust-proofing all Fall! Heads-up for the BROWNS, the GREENS, the REDS and the ORANGES!
Dark Chocolate is delicious, nutritious and a great sources of antioxidants to:
Improve blood flow
Lower blood pressure
Raise good cholesterol (HDL) and protect bad cholesterol (LDL) from oxidation
Reduce heart disease risk
Protect skin from sun
Improve brain function
Bonus! Cocoa is very nutritious containing iron, magnesium, copper, manganese, and potassium and can also help reduce stress!
Rust-Proofing Inspiration! Sprinkle a little cocoa powder into your coffee, over fruit, in cereal, smoothie or yogurt…the higher the cocoa content the more antioxidants!
Beans are an inexpensive way to increase protein and antioxidant intake, especially polyphenols which can help with:
Diabetes and glucose metabolism
Bonus! Other important nutrients found in beans include zinc, iron, magnesium and fiber known to help control appetite.
Rust-Proofing Inspiration! Lentils, chickpeas, white, red kidney or black beans are great options for Fall soups, salads, with pasta, rice or whizzed into hummus-type dips.
Nuts are rich in protein, minerals, fiber, healthy fats and antioxidants, are a great snack food, inexpensive, easy to store and pack. Beneficial effects apply to minimally processed nuts with no added ingredients such as salt or sugar and since they are high in calories, portion control remains important. A small handful of nuts is a great option to:
Support heart health
Reduce bad cholesterol (LDL) levels, increase good (HDL) cholesterol levels
Prevent heart attack and stroke
Improve brain health and cognition
Improve gut health
Bonus! Unlike other nuts, peanuts are legumes, however with similar nutrient profiles to tree nuts
Rust-Proofing Inspiration! Chop some pistachios, walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, pine nuts or pecans to top off Fall soups, salads, cereals, savory pasta or rice dishes with a crunch!
Kale is one of the most nutritious veggies on the planet, mostly because it’s rich in antioxidants, including quercetin and kaempferol, which have numerous beneficial effects on:
Bonus! Kale contains vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin B6, manganese, calcium, copper, potassium and magnesium.
Rust-Proofing Inspiration! Use kale raw or cooked in soups, salads, over pizza, kale pesto, risotto or blended into a smoothie. RED varieties contain nearly double the antioxidants than GREEN!
Artichokes are one of the vegetables with the most antioxidants. These powerful thistles help protect against:
Heart disease and high blood pressure
Bonus! Artichokes bolster the immune system and are fun to eat!
Rust-Proofing Inspiration! Try artichokes (fresh, frozen or canned) on pizza, in risotto, in sauces, over pasta, in a sandwich or cold in salads this Fall!
Spinach is a super food - loaded with nutrients, high in antioxidants and low in calories. Antioxidants lutein, kaempferol, nitrates, quercetin and zeaxanthin help improve:
Reduce oxidative stress to help fight aging, reduce cancer risk and diabetes
Bonus! Spinach boasts high amounts of carotenoids, vitamin C, vitamin K, folic acid, iron and calcium.
Rust-Proofing Inspiration! Like kale, try spinach in soups, salads, over pizza, in a sandwich, with eggs, in risotto or blended into a smoothie!
Beets are an awesome source of fiber, potassium, iron, folate and antioxidants called betalains linked to many impressive health benefits including:
May Help Fight Inflammation. ...
Support Brain Health
Bonus! Beets have been shown to enhance athletic performance by improving oxygen use and time to exhaustion.
Rust-Proofing Inspiration! Roast beets, whip into soup or add to salads for amazing Fall color and flavor.
Red cabbage is red due to its high content of antioxidants called anthocyanins and polyphenols, vitamins C and K which combined protect against:
Bonus! Cabbage contains insoluble fiber promoting friendly bacteria and digestive health.
Rust-Proofing Inspiration! This inexpensive, pretty vegetable can be eaten raw or cooked, added to salads, soups, stews and slaws or fermented into super-healthy sauerkraut or kimchi.
Pomegranates have over 100 phytochemicals and have been used for thousands of years as medicine. Rich in polyphenols, they help improve:
Delay decline in age related brain function
Bonus! Pomegranates contain higher levels of antioxidants than most other fruits and three times more antioxidants than red wine or green tea!
Rust-Proofing Inspiration! Sprinkle pomegranate seeds over salads, soups, cereals or yogurts or drink unsweetened pomegranate juice.
Pumpkin which is commonly viewed as a vegetable, is scientifically a fruit since it contains seeds. Pumpkin contains alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, lutein and zeaxanthin which have been shown to improve body protection against:
Skin sun damage
Stomach, throat, pancreas and breast cancers
Eye diseases including age-related macular degeneration and cataracts
Bonus ! Pumpkin seeds are also edible and highly nutritious!
Rust-Proofing Inspiration! Peel, slice and cut pumpkin and then roast, puree for soup, as a side veggie or mix into rice or pasta. Keep in mind that many varieties can be cooked with the fiber-full skin.
Carrots contain beta-carotene and lutein, powerful antioxidants linked with:
Anti-aging and skin
Improved immune function
Various degenerative diseases
Certain types of cancer
Bonus! Eating FAT with carrots can help absorb more beta-carotene! Carrots also contain vitamin A, B-vitamins, vitamin K and potassium.
Oranges (along with other orange foods) are high in vitamin C which boosts immunity, prevents heart disease and helps rebuild skin collagen. Antioxidant plant compounds are responsible for many of the beneficial health effects of oranges including improved:
Prevention of kidney stone formation.
Iron absorption and reduced anemia risk
Rust-Proofing Inspiration! Add fresh oranges to salads with stick cinnamon to boost antioxidants! Oranges are also easy to eat by themselves, added to smoothies or mixed into savory dishes.