Foods rich in these substances, which can help prevent premature aging and some chronic diseases, also may help boost your immune system this flu season.
So here's the how-to:
Load up on fresh fruit. Good sources include berries, red grapes, prunes and pomegranates. A more exotic choice is the acai berry, which is native to Brazil and often shows up locally in juices and powders. Note: Fresh fruit has more antioxidants than cooked.
Go for spinach. Substitute this darker green for lettuce in salads and sandwiches. Other colorful vegetables such as broccoli, carrots and red and yellow bell peppers also are antioxidant-rich.
Don't overcook veggies. The best way to eat them is raw, followed by lightly steamed. Cook them at the lowest possible temperature for the shortest amount of time.
Use the right oils and flavors. Cooking with fresh extra virgin olive oil and using spices such as sage, marjoram, rosemary and thyme will boost the antioxidant content of meals. Two more tasty sources are garlic and fresh ginger.
Snack on nuts. Almonds, pecans and peanuts are good choices and also contain heart-healthy fats. Just go easy on portion sizes, because most nuts are high in calories.
Eat more beans. Red and kidney beans are antioxidant-rich and high in protein. They're great swaps for meat in many dishes.
Switch to whole grains. Eat whole-grain versions of "white" foods such as bread, cereal, rice and pasta.
Have some tea. Make a cup of green or black tea when you need a pick-me-up. Bagged and loose teas are particularly high in antioxidants.
Don't rely on pills. A variety of healthy foods and drinks will serve you much better than searching for antioxidants in supplement form.