In today’s world the words “antioxidant” and “cancer” are often used concurrently; one being a good thing and the other being horribly bad. To determine the nature of their relationship, it is important to know that antioxidants are substances which can offer help in a scenario where cancer is involved. Antioxidants are nutrients that can salvage cells from deterioration caused by cancer.
Now this is very encouraging news for the paleo diet followers as many of the foods permitted on the diet are the best sources of potent antioxidants. By using these good foods on a regular basis, our bodies can ward off cancer causing agents naturally. Antioxidants are naturally found in fresh fruits and vegetables along with fish and other seafood. Due to the regular consumption of these paleo friendly foods, the paleo diet is higher in antioxidants than the staple western diet.
Antioxidants can be classified as flavinoids, isothiocyanates, phenols, carotenoids, beta carotene, and selenium to name a few. While these names may sound completely alien, some of the better known antioxidants include vitamin A, E and C.
Although there are many, given below is a list of some of the most promising antioxidant rich paleo foods:
- SALMON: Popular in both paleo and traditional western diets, wild caught salmon is an excellent source of the carotenoid astaxanthin. This food source contains many cardio protective benefits and supplies a good amount of essential fats known as omega 3s. These essential facts have an important part to play in the prevention of blood clots and arterial inflammation.
- TOMATOES: Armed with the antioxidant lycopene, tomatoes offer health benefits in the shape of cancer prevention and reducing cardiac damage.
- MUSHROOMS: Also known for cancer curing properties, mushrooms contain special phytonutrients. Using mushrooms as a culinary ingredient also provides anti inflammatory powers that help boost the immune system. Mushrooms also cater many of the vitamins B, selenium as well as beta-glucans which counter cancer cells.
- SEAWEEDS: Seaweeds can provide vitamins A,E, K and Bs in good quantities. They are also good sources of iron, calcium and magnesium.
- BROCCOLI: No list of good foods can be complete without the mention of broccoli. This super food offers anti clogging properties for the arteries and has flavonoids which can check inflammation. The fiber of this plant food has cholesterol lowering qualities and its phytonutrients help cleanse the liver. Broccoli is also known to have more vitamin C than an orange and is one of the best sources of paleo friendly foods for calcium.
- KALE: Touted as a champion among antioxidant foods, kale is an amazing source of various phytonutrients. Demonstrating very potent anti cancer qualities, the goodness of kale is packed with beta carotene and vitamin C.
- CARROTS: Carrots have antioxidants called carotenoids. Carotenoids also give carrots their bright red/orange color and have been associated with reducing the incidence of heart disease and cancer. Its antioxidant effects can be felt at different sites in the body like heart, skin and eye.
- ASPARAGUS: A rich source of multiple antioxidants, asparagus provides many health benefits. Natural antioxidants like phenolic compounds, beta carotene and vitamin C are found in abundant supplies in asparagus.
- BERRIES: Noted for their high antioxidant content, berries make up for a super food on the paleo list. Berries also provide vitamin C, flavonoids and poly phenols. Not only are these delicious picks low in calories but also provide reasonable supplies of fiber in the diet.
- NUTS: Although all nuts have antioxidants, walnuts, pecans and chestnuts are known to have the highest content. Offering health benefits like reduced cardio diseases and cancer preventing properties, paleo dieting has never looked better with the inclusion of nuts in its permitted food list.
While the list of antioxidant rich paleo foods could go on for much longer, it would be helpful to know that vitamin A and carotenoids can be found in fruits and vegetables that are bright colored. These can include but not be limited to squash, peaches and apricots. You can also source vitamin A and carotenoids from leafy greens like spinach.
Vitamin C can be found in abundance in citrus fruits, leafy greens, green peppers and tomatoes. Look to nuts, oils like coconut and olive, as well as leafy green vegetables for Vitamin E. Selenium comes in various seafood and shellfish.