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Organic Food - High In Antioxidants



Maximizing Antioxidant Intake Through Organic Fruits and Vegetables
“Seeking out organic produce and organic processed fruits and vegetables will increase antioxidant intake by about 30 percent, compared to produce grown on otherwise similar conventional farms.”
Studies show that organic fruits and vegetables are typically higher in nutrients including the all-important antioxidants than conventionally grown fruits and vegetables. So, how can you pack more antioxidants into your diet? Here are four easy ways:
  1. Consume at least one or more servings of organic fruits or vegetables at each meal. Choose ripe, brightly colored produce when possible to get the most nutrients you can per serving. Fruits and veggies make great snacks as well. The brighter the color, the bigger the antioxidant boost!

  2. Squeeze your own juice if you can. Commercial squeezing and pasteurizing depletes about 20% of the available antioxidants. Of course, if you can’t find time to squeeze your own, commercially processed organic juice can still be a great source of antioxidants (and certainly better than drinking a soda).

  3. Eat cooked tomatoes. Though raw fruits and vegetables are often higher in antioxidants, cooked tomatoes actually have more antioxidants because the heating process increases the antioxidant content. And check this out – organic ketchup (which includes processed tomatoes) has 50% higher levels of antioxidants than a group of major national brands. Yup, even organic ketchup can add to your antioxidant intake!

  4. When selecting oils and juices, look for organic brands that are processed at lower temperatures (when available).


Why organic produce is higher in antioxidants
There are two explanations for why organic fruits and vegetables are higher in antioxidants. The first reason is linked to what is called “pest pressure.” Plants under stress from pests have to engage their natural defense mechanisms, called secondary plant metabolites or SPMs. Many SPMs are also antioxidants and they’re also responsible for giving plants their bright colors and distinctive flavors. When organically grown plants have to engage their defense mechanisms, they yield fruits and vegetables that are higher in SPMs and therefore higher in antioxidants. This also explains why you can actually taste the difference between organic and conventionally grown produce. Organic produce tends to have a much deeper, fuller flavor attributable to those wonderful SPMs.

A second explanation has to do with using the natural growing methods on organic farms. Conventional farms speed up plan growth by heavily fertilizing plants and spraying pesticides to get plants to grow as quickly as possible. This actually shortens the growth cycle for plants and yields produce lower in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Organic farms, on the other hand, rely on slower growth and a natural growth cycle to allow fruits and vegetables to mature naturally. This leads to better tasting and more nutritious produce. Good and good for you!

Foods with the most antioxidants per serving?

Blueberries Potatoes
Cranberries Kidney beans
Blackberries Pinto beans
Raspberries Asparagus
Strawberries Yellow pepper
Apples Black-eyed peas
Plums Cooked tomatoes
Sweet cherries Cooked artichoke
Prunes Red cabbage
Grapefruit Red grapes
Peaches Broccoli raab
Acai berries Beets

Acai berries are high in antioxidants and rank right up there with blueberries and cranberries. If you're curious about acai, click here to read more about the potential health benefits of the acai berry.

Elderberries are also high in antioxidants and are related to blueberries and cranberries. Recent studies have also shown elderberries can be effective in boosting the immune system and helping reduce your risk of colds, flu and coughs. For more in elderberries and the benefits of organic elderberry juice in boosting your immune system naturally, click here.

Source: The Organic Center (www.organic-center.org)


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