Right eating doesn’t just means focusing on the macros like proteins, carbohydrates, good fat and fibre, and scoring all the essential vitamins and minerals.
It also involves upping the body’s supply of antioxidants like vitamins E and C, beta carotene and some trace minerals like selenium etc, which help detoxify the body by getting rid of the free radicals from the body (these make you feel unhealthy and fatigued and in the long run also lead to myriad diseases like heart problem and more).
Although these can be had as supplements, the best way is to get them naturally, through food.
That’s because antioxidants are less effective when isolated from food and had in a supplement form. So it is best to get your antioxidants from a well balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables.
Here’s a simple four weeks pan to help you consciously incorporate as much as possible these top antioxidant foods in your diet. Follow this 4 weeks plan ASAP to give your body an edge in these virus ridden times and score a healthy, disease free body.
Consciously incorporate Vitamin E rich foods in your diet. Keep the chips and fried namkeens away snack instead on walnuts, peanuts, and almonds. Sprinkle seeds (sunflower, flax, watermelon) and, wheat germ on your morning cereal, add olives to your salads every day and a leafy green vegetable for both your main meals in goon quantity.
It is a good idea to add lettuce to your sandwich and shred and add to your soups too. If you are a non vegetarian have liver subzi twice in this week too.
Why: vitamin E fights heart disease, boosts immunity, and helps stop cell damage that leads to skin cancer.
Concentrate on vitamin C this week. Start your day with nimbu pani. Have citrus fruits (like oranges and grapefruit), continue with leafy green vegetables for lunch and dinner and additionally have broccoli twice/ thrice this week.
Also increase the proportion of tomatoes in your salads (try to have two tomatoes every day). Have tomato soup three times this week too. For fruits look towards raspberries and strawberries and have some amla murraba and juice daily.
Why: a strong immunity booster, it also protects our DNA and helps our body use vitamin E more efficiently.
Time for your beta-carotene dose. Alternate between mangoes and papaya for your fruit serving, have one from peppers, spinach, pumpkin and sweet potato daily, and snack on apricots in the evening; you can even have a glass of apricot juice once a day.
Why: these neutralize free radicals that damage cells, and also helps protect our eyes and skin from sun damage.
Time for the often ignored but absolutely essential antioxidants. For selenium. Have seafood thrice at least this week, brown rice every day of the week and switch to whole wheat bread right away.
For phytochemicals gorge on green leafy vegetables (like spinach, broccoli , cabbage), have seeds (sunflower and flax), add lots of garlic to all your dishes and have beans and legumes for at least one meal a day.
Why: defends the body from chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer, and also speeds up your body's natural antioxidant-making process.
(Kavita is a nutritionist, weight management consultant and health writer based in Delhi. She is the author of Don’t Diet! 50 Habits of Thin People (Jaico) and Ultimate Grandmother Hacks: 50 Kickass Traditional Habits for a Fitter You (Rupa).)