Are you getting enough antioxidants in your diet?  We know that it’s important for nurses to set an example when it comes to healthy eating, and that means making good food choices even if we have a busy schedule.  Antioxidants are important in helping our bodies fight disease and manage stress, and since the body doesn’t make its own, we have to make sure we’re getting them with each meal. 

Fortunately, there are easy ways to eat more nutritiously, even if you’re a busy nurse who is pressed for time.   Here are four tips to incorporate more body-healing antioxidants into your daily diet. 

1. Add berries to your cereal bowl.  Blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries (or whatever is in season) can all add a nutritious antioxidant boost to your fiber-rich cereal. That’s because in addition to providing Vitamin C, berries contain anthocyanin, an antioxidant that gives berries their color and is thought to help fight disease. 

 Remember that as a general rule, the more colors you have in your diet, the better.  So add a cup of the colorful berries to your bowl of cereal for breakfast and you’ve easily added antioxidants to help give your body a vitamin boost.  

2. Munch on healthy nuts for a mid-afternoon snack.  The hours between lunch and dinner can become a diet minefield if you’re tired, hungry and prone to mindless munching.  But keep some nuts around, such as walnuts or almonds, and you can help satisfy your appetite while also getting a powerful punch of Vitamin E, an antioxidant that helps body tissue heal and can fight the effects ultraviolet rays from the sun.

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In addition, nuts contain healthy fats that can help you feel full in the middle of the day, so you aren’t as tempted to reach for sugary snack food.

3. Eat your leafy greens.  Make a point to include dark, leafy green vegetables as part of your regular diet.  Eating just a few servings each day of these veggies, such as kale or spinach, can help you get a power pack of Vitamin A, C, and E, as well as calcium and magnesium.  Mix them into a salad, or blend them into a healthy green smoothie.

 4. Relax with green tea.  End your day with a relaxing cup of hot tea, which releases antioxidants known as flavonoids.  There are particular flavonoids called catechins that are released when hot green tea has been steeped for several minutes.  The catechins are thought to reduce damage to the body’s cells.  Green tea is also associated with heart healthy benefits, and the antioxidant parts of the beverage are thought to be a major factor.  So brew or cup or two to help de-stress after a long day.

As nurses, it’s important to pay attention to nutrition in your diet.  Because you’re a busy health care professional, be sure to follow these simple tips easily get more nutrients and antioxidants into your system while you’re on the go.

Margarette Burnette
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