Foods High in Antioxidants
When looking to find a healthy diet people undoubtedly run into the term antioxidants. Antioxidants are an essential component in keeping the body healthy and functioning the way it is supposed to. Unlike most other nutrients, people don’t often understand what antioxidants are, or even which types of foods they can be found in.
Read on to get a good introduction to antioxidants, why they are important, and how you can incorporate them into your daily diet.
What Are Antioxidants?
Antioxidants are a particular class of molecules that help to inhibit the oxidation of other molecules it comes into contact with. Oxidation of molecules can cause some serious issues in the body, which is why having antioxidants to stop the oxidation is so critical. Your body can take the antioxidants consumed and ‘send’ them to the areas where they are most needed, which helps to keep the molecules in your body healthy.
Another thing that antioxidants do is create a particular enzyme, which can contribute to limiting free radical reactions in the body. Free radicals are linked to cancer, aging, and other issues that people experience.
The body produces some antioxidants naturally, but not in sufficient quantities. Also, as people age, their antioxidant production declines. It is important to add antioxidants to your body by consuming healthy foods.
Which Foods Have Antioxidants
The best source of antioxidants is going to be fresh, unprocessed foods. Antioxidants are created naturally in many foods. There are different types of antioxidants, so choosing a variety of foods from the following list will help your body to get the right balance that it needs.
Antioxidants in Fresh Vegetables
The following vegetables are loaded with antioxidants and should part of your daily meal plan. Choosing a variety of vegetables will not only get you the antioxidants that you need but will also help get many other essential nutrients:
- Alfalfa Sprouts
- Brussels Sprouts
- Red Bell Peppers
Antioxidants in Fresh Fruits
Fruits are another great source of antioxidants. Look for fruits with darker skins on them to get the highest amount, but all of the following options are great choices:
- Prunes (All prunes are great, but dried prunes have almost twice the amount of antioxidants as raw!)
- Red Grapes
- Goji Berries
Antioxidants in Nuts
Nuts are another great source of antioxidants. Just make sure you are always getting raw nuts, and if you do prefer roasted, make sure they are roasted in a healthy oil and don’t have sugar added to them.
Other nuts have some antioxidants, but these are the best options.
Antioxidants in Herbs and Spices
Adding herbs and spices to a dish does not only enhance flavors, but it adds a healthy amount of antioxidants to your meal! The following are some of the best options out there:
- Ground Cloves
- Ground Cinnamon
When possible, use fresh herbs and spices. Dried herbs and spices will also provide you with a good amount of antioxidants.
Drinking green tea and red wine are both great ways to boost the antioxidants you get in your diet. These delicious options are packed with antioxidants and have been known to have many significant health benefits.
Top Ten Antioxidant Rich Foods
The above options are all ideal for getting a healthy balance of foods while boosting your antioxidant levels. If you want a quick and straightforward list that you can take to the grocery store, this is a great ‘Top Ten’ list of foods with the most antioxidants. Adding even just one or two of these great options to your meal plans will help you to get the antioxidants you need.
Each food is listed with the total Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity (ORAC) score, which is used to determine how effective the antioxidants are for absorbing and getting rid of the free radicals in your body.
- Goji Berries – These tasty berries boast an ORAC score of 25,000!
- Dark Chocolate – Great for a snack, and perfect for its antioxidant levels. Dark Chocolate scores 21,000 on the ORAC list
- Pecans – This great tasting nut has an ORAC score of 17,000
- Blueberries – Organic Blueberries offer 14,000 ORAC
- Elderberries – Elderberries are tied with blueberries, offering a score of 14,000 on the ORAC scale
- Cranberries – Cranberries have an ORAC score of 9,500
- Artichoke – Artichoke has an ORAC score of 9,400
- Kidney Beans – Kidney beans have an ORAC score of 8,400
- Blackberries – Blackberries have an ORAC score of 5,300
- Cilantro – This great spice has an ORAC score of 5,100
One of the best things about this top ten list is that it has a great selection of foods to choose from. This will get you all the antioxidants you need, while also ensuring a balanced nutrition that will keep you strong and healthy.
Whether you’re already healthy, or you’re looking for a lifestyle change, focusing on getting enough antioxidants is an excellent way to boost your health today and fight off problems in the future.