We’ve mentioned the impact that free radicals have on aging, so you need lots of antioxidants to fight off these nasty damaging molecules. The accumulated harm to cells, tissues, and organs caused by free radicals is a key contributor to aging and many diseases associated with growing older. Great sources of antioxidants are fresh fruits and vegetables, which are generally rich in vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. Phytonutrients (“phyto” means “plant”) are chemicals that give fruits and vegetables their color. Carotenoids, flavonoids, indoles, and catechins are just a few of the many different types of phytonutrients.
Phytonutrients and other antioxidants are especially helpful in the fight against aging and in promoting wellness. Aim to eat one or more servings daily from each of the following groups of fruits and vegetables, which are rich in phytonutrients.
Green: dark green, leafy vegetables (romaine lettuce [skip the iceberg!], spinach, kale, mustard greens, swiss chard), green peppers, broccoli, peas, avocado, celery.
Yellow/orange: carrots, yellow peppers, apricots, peaches, pineapple, oranges, yellow squash, pumpkin, yams and sweet potatoes, acorn squash, spaghetti squash.
Red: red peppers, tomatoes, blood oranges, cherries, cranberries, strawberries, red leaf lettuce, red apples.
Blue/purple: blueberries, eggplant, raisins, plums, blackberries, purple cabbage.
White: cauliflower, mushrooms, turnips, apple juice, parsnips, white onions, white peaches, garlic.