Foods Rich in Antioxidants You Can Grow on Your Own
May 13, 2019 10:16 AM EDT | By Staff Reporter
Consuming foods rich in antioxidants is a great way to protect your body's good health as they offer protection against illness, disease and cell damage. While they can obviously be purchased at the grocery store, farmer's markets and the like, by growing them on your own you'll have these healthy superfoods just steps away, it will cost you a lot less, and you can enjoy the fun and stress-relief gardening provides.
If you recently purchased a home among Cincinnati real estate, or anywhere else, now is a perfect time to take advantage of the space in your backyard, but even if your place doesn't have a yard, you may be able to take advantage of container gardening or other options. In fact, there's so many ways to do it, according to a report by the National Gardening Association, 35 percent of U.S. households grow food at home or in a community garden.
These are just a few of the foods richest in antioxidants you can grow on your own.
Chili peppers are jam-packed with a compound called capsaicin, an antioxidant that's known to protect the blood vessels. It's what makes the peppers hot and it also aids in keeping the body's metabolic rate where it should be while stimulating certain brain chemicals that can decrease hunger. The hotter they are the more capsaicin they contain.
There are lots of different types of chili peppers, but some of the hottest are serrano, cayenne and habanero. Growing conditions can improve their heat as well - hot air and soil increases heat levels, but if the area you live in isn't that warm, you can cover the soil with black plastic to trap heat in, increasing its temperature. Avoid overwatering, in fact, you want to grow the plants on the dry side. Let them remain dry for a few days before you water again.
By now you probably know that kale is considered one of the most powerful superfoods, thanks to its high level of antioxidants, with a cup containing more than 600 percent of the daily recommended intake for vitamin A and over 900 percent of your daily vitamin K, among many other nutrients. It's an incredible versatile veggie too - you can use it as a base for a salad, make it into kale chips or add it to a smoothie.
Growing kale isn't difficult, all you need is a sunny spot to sow the seeds in the spring or early summer. It's also rather hardy in that it can tolerate shade better than many other vegetables.
Beets offer a wide range of health benefits thanks to an antioxidant called betanin. This phytochemical is the reason that have that deep, rich red color. Just one serving is said to help strengthen the immune system, reduce blood pressure, improve energy levels and even lessen the pain of arthritis. While they have an earthy flavor, when they're cooked, they become sweet. If you want to use them in a smoothie but don't enjoy the uncooked taste, remove the skin and you'll barely notice it. The leafy green tops can be eaten too, they're filled with antioxidants, offering vitamins A, C and B6 along with magnesium, zinc, copper, fiber and protein.
Beets tend to grow better in cooler environments in an area protected from heavy winds with soil at temperatures ranging from 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
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As if you ever really need an excuse to order a piña colada, today is National Piña Colada Day, so go ahead and order that creamy, sweet, cocktail-meets-dessert libation that is best served on a sunny, tropical beach somewhere exotic.