Desserts Stuffed with Antioxidants

Take healthy eating all the way to dessert with some antioxidants in your sweet stuff!  Berries and chocolate are among the foods that are most rich in antioxidants, or the free-radical fighting molecules in our bodies that help reduce cell damage.

You already know–and have known for years–that there are some antioxidants that should be in every persons’ diet.  Vitamins A, E and C are all antioxidants.  Those are some of our old favorites, making an appearance in our juices, berries, and fruits and veggies.  But there are many others: carotenoids, selenium, lycopene, flavonoids, polyphenols, lutein and CoQ10 (coenzyme Q10) just to name a few.

Try the 5 following desserts to add some antioxidants to your meal:

1. Berry Parfaits

Place berries at the bottom of a champagne glass. Top with vanilla yogurt or creme anglais, if you are extra ambitious. Top with more berries and more yogurt. Finally, add a few more berries, and even some chopped nuts for a little extra vitamin C.

2. Carrot Cake

Add a cup of shredded carrots and halve the raisins in your recipe… even if your recipe is from a box! Make up for the lost raisins with dried cranberries and get yourself a heaping pile of carotenoids, vitamin A, flavonoids and polyphenols.  Frost the cake and shave some orange zest on top. Along the side, stick some whole oats along around the cake, covering up the frosting for an extra dose of lignan, which aids in immune system strength and even protection from UV light in your skin cells.

3. Fruit Tarts

Grab a fruit tart at the grocery store or make your own, adding in a few extras to turn it into an antioxidant powerhouse.  Make (or buy) the crust and fill with your choice of filling.  Try custard, cream cheese filling, whipped cream or refrigerated pudding to make it simple.  Top with these cancer fighters:  put 5 strawberries in the center, in the shape of a star, pile blueberries around the strawberries, and follow with a ring of kiwi, sliced in a half moon shape.  Follow with raspberries and blackberries, and chalk up some lutein and vitamins A and C.

4. Napoleons

Napoleon was a fighter, and these babies follow suit, waging war against free radicals! This dessert combines vitamins A and C. Cut a sheet of puff pastry into 3 inch squares with a pizza cutter and bake according to directions. Meanwhile, melt dark chocolate over a double boiler.  Remove puff pastry and allow to cool.  When cool, place one square in the center of a plate, drizzle with the dark chocolate and top with a small spoonful of custard or vanilla pudding. Top with pomegranate arils, strawberries, raspberries or blueberries, and another small spoonful of custard.  Place another piece of puff pastry on the top, drizzle with the dark chocolate, more berries, and a dollop of whipped cream on top.

5. Sundaes

Go back to childhood with some antioxidant heavy sundae toppings. Melt your dark chocolate over a double boiler. Top vanilla ice cream with melted dark chocolate. Add berry sauce. To make it, put 12 oz of a variety of berries in a pan. Add blueberries, cherries with seeds removed, pomegranate arils, strawberries and even a few cranberries. This packs a serious punch of vitamins and flavonoids. Add a cup of water or orange juice for a little vitamin C boost. If you use water, add a quarter of a cup of sugar, and bring to a boil. Stir occasionally and remove from heat when fruit starts to break down. Top ice cream with this delicious sauce and chocolate for a decadant dessert.

Who ever said you can’t have your cake and eat it too? Well, maybe not always cake, but it’s JUST as delicious!

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