By Gabe Sanders PhD, NSCA- CSCS
The value of eating fruits and vegetables is well understood by many people in the world today. Consuming these foods can immediately improve your health and well-being. Even more important, long-term consumption of fruits and vegetables can provide long-term health advantages that reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, cancers, obesity and other chronic diseases.
Non-Enzymatic Antioxidant capacity- NEAC
The combined effects of antioxidants from healthy fruits and vegetables are the primary reason for the health boost! There is a term in research called “Non-Enzymatic Antioxidant Capacity” or NEAC, which refers to the total amount of antioxidants consumed in the diet as a whole. The total amount of foods that contain antioxidants you consume daily may be equally as important, if not more important than consuming one type of fruit that is high in antioxidants, like blueberries.
Choose a wide variety of whole foods
While most of us think of bright blue and red fruit as foods high in antioxidants, the truth is, the majority of food you eat on a daily basis contains antioxidants of some type. Typically, healthy diets that consist of a wide variety of whole foods will be high in antioxidants and this overall volume of antioxidants are more beneficial for your health than simply consuming a few fruits and vegetables that are high in antioxidants and then eating bad foods the rest of the day.
Antioxidants have a profound effect on your body as they interact with each other to have a more positive, robust effect on disease, reducing inflammation and boosting your immune system.
Foods like black beans, red beans, artichokes, and baked potatoes are healthy carbohydrates that are loaded with antioxidants. When these foods are consumed with various types of berries, apples, and cherries, your bodies NEAC is very high and will have a positive effect on your overall health and ability to fight disease.
Keep eating healthy, indulge modestly, and live fully!!
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Hantikainen, E., Löf, M., Grotta, A., Lagerros, Y. T., Serafini, M., Bellocco, R., & Weiderpass, E. (2018). Dietary non-enzymatic antioxidant capacity and the risk of myocardial infarction in the Swedish women’s lifestyle and health cohort. European journal of epidemiology, 1-9.