Fresh veggies that contain antioxidants.

By Registered Dietitian Rachel

Have you ever asked, “What are antioxidants?” Technically speaking, antioxidants are substances in the body that counteract oxidative stress, which is a process that can damage cells in your body and cause different diseases, such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, cataracts, or age-related macular degeneration.  Knowing this, it’s clear that antioxidants are a very important part of our daily diet! But how can we make sure we’re getting enough antioxidants? 

Antioxidants are found in many plant-based foods. We often think about fruits having antioxidants, but antioxidants are in many healthy foods, such as whole grains, nuts, seeds, herbs and spices, and especially vegetables. There are a variety of antioxidants in vegetables, and different veggies carry different types of antioxidants. When you include a variety of vegetables in your Fresh and Lean meals, you’ll get a variety of antioxidants and their other health benefits as well! 

List of Antioxidants Examples and Their Vegetable Sources

Lutein

  • Source: Broccoli, peas, and green leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach, or lettuce. 
  • Benefits: Helps prevent cataracts and age macular degeneration. 

Vitamin C

  • Source: Broccoli, Brussel sprouts, red and green peppers, and tomatoes (To get the most Vitamin C, eat these veggies raw or roasted). 
  • Benefits: Boosts immune function and helps prevent cardiovascular disease, different types of cancer, age-related macular degeneration, and cataracts. 

Vitamin E

  • Source: Broccoli, tomatoes, and leafy green vegetables like spinach.
  • Benefits: Helps reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, some cancers, cataracts, macular degeneration, and overall cognitive decline. 

Vitamin A

  • Source: Sweet potatoes, spinach, carrots, red peppers, broccoli, and summer squash. 
  • Benefits: Can help prevent some cancers and age-related macular degeneration.

Selenium

  • Source: Spinach, peas, potatoes, carrots, and lettuce. 
  • Benefits: May reduce the risk of cancers such as colorectal, prostate, lung, bladder, skin, esophageal, and gastric. May also prevent cognitive decline, minimize the risk of cardiovascular disease, and assist thyroid function in people with thyroid disease. 

Lycopene 

  • Source: Tomatoes
  • Benefits: May help with high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol; May prevent some cancers. 

Lignans

  • Source: Broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, collard greens, cabbage, and red peppers. 
  • Benefits: Helps reduce the risk of heart disease, menopausal symptoms, and osteoporosis; may help minimize the risk of breast cancer.

Polyphenols 

  • Source: Artichokes and olives. 
  • Benefits: Has the potential to prevent cognitive decline, cardiovascular disease, and some forms of cancer. 

It is essential to include a variety of vegetables in your daily diet. Filling your plate with different colors of vegetables is a great way to know you are getting all the antioxidants your body needs to stay healthy! This is why we recommend three servings of vegetables with each Fresh and Lean meal.

Try out the Livea recipes below to boost the amount of vegetables in your diet.  

Recipes: 

Parmesan Roasted Vegetables: 1 healthy fat, 2 extras, 3 servings of vegetables

Ingredients: 

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp parmesan- shredded
  • ½ cup broccoli- cut into florets
  • ½ cup brussels sprouts- cut in half
  • ½ cup cauliflower- cut into florets
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4/ tsp onion powder 

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425oF.
  2. Place chopped vegetables in a bowl with parmesan, olive oil, garlic powder, and onion powder. Mix until combined. 
  3. Place vegetable mixture on a baking tray evenly and bake at 425oF for 20-30 minutes or until tender.  

Resources 

https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/antioxidants-in-depth

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/multimedia/antioxidants/sls-20076428?s=1

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3705341/#:~:text=Lutein%20and%20zeaxanthin%20are%20the%20most%20common%20xanthophylls%20in%20green,29%5D%20(Table%201).

https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/list-all/

https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/natural/554.html

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6429205/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7022568/

https://ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21045839/