As you know, antioxidants remove free radicals from your body. These free radicals can damage your cells leading to diseases like heart disease, diabetes, cancer and speed up aging process. Fortunately our body can produce antioxidants in the form of antioxidant enzymes to neutralize the free radicals. However, when the number of free radicals is too high, you need to get extra antioxidants from your diet to help to fight the free radicals.
It is commonly known that fruits and vegetables are packed with powerful antioxidants. In facts, antioxidants are available in other type of foods like legumes, spices, meats and beverages.
List of Foods High in Antioxidants by Category
Berries families (blueberries, cherries, cranberries, crowberries, bilberries, black currants, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries) , apricots, dates, grapes, kiwi, oranges, peaches, pineapple, pink grapefruit, plums, pomegranates, prunes, raisins, red apples.
Dried fruits contain more antioxidants than in fresh, with the water removed. They can be a choice of healthy snack while you are travelling. For example,dried pears, plums, apples, peaches, dates and raisins.
Broccoli, spinach, carrots, potatoes, artichokes, cabbage, asparagus, avocados, beetroot, radish, lettuce, sweet potatoes, squash, pumpkin, collard greens, kale, tomatoes.
Spices and Herbs
Cinnamon, oregano, turmeric, cumin, parsley, basil, curry powder, mustard seed, ginger, pepper, chili powder, paprika, garlic, coriander, onion and cardamom. Herbs include sage, thyme, marjoram, tarragon, peppermint, oregano, savory, basil and dill weed.
Cereals and Nuts
Corn flakes, oatmeal, walnuts, hazelnuts, pistachio nuts, almonds, cashews, macadamia nuts.
Black beans, broad beans, Pinto beans, red beans, soybeans.
Green tea, black tea, plain tea, coffee (consumed in moderation, adding milk blocks antioxidants), red wine, beer (since it comes from grains). A word of caution, excessive alcohol consumption can damage your organ and system. The consumption should be kept at the limited amount. For coffee or tea, since other studies have implicated excessive intakes lead to high blood pressure and heart problems, 1 or 2 cups a day appear to be beneficial.
Beef, chicken, egg, cheese, seafood (tuna) contain selenium which is one of antioxidants sources. Too much of selenium intake may reach to toxic level, it should be consume with moderate portions.
Acai berry, gingo biloba, gogi, grape seed extract, mangosteen, micro sea algae, milk thistle, noni, pine bark (pycnogenol), quercetin.
Since taking antioxidants from all range of foods can be challenging if you are busy, adding supplements to your regular diet can help to boost your antioxidants power in a convenient way. Each supplement has its own advantages and specific benefits, you need to take time to find out which antioxidant supplement works best for you based on your specific needs and interests.
Top 20 Antioxidants Rich Foods
Here is an another reference: top 20 Foods High in Antioxidants – voted by The USDA tested over 100 foods from all categories and developed an authoritative list of the top 20:
1. small red beans
2. wild blueberries
3. red kidney beans
4. pinto beans
5. cultivated blueberries
12. red delicious apples
13. Granny Smith apples
15. sweet cherries
16. black plums
17. russet potatoes
18. black beans
20. gala apples
Choosing Foods High in Antioxidants
Here are a few points to keep in mind when choosing antioxidant-rich foods:
- Because there are many different types of antioxidants that can provide different benefits, eating a wide range of antioxidant-rich foods is highly desirable. Fruit and vegatables are rich sources in antioxidants. If you do not have time to eat or prepare fruits and vegetables every day, consider getting a juicer or taking antioxidant supplements, some examples are mangosteen, acai berry, grape seed extract, berries etc. You may check with your nutritionist on which one best suits your specific needs.
- When preparing fruits and vegetables, be sure to wash carefully to remove pesticide residues to get the maximum benefits of antioxidants. Pesticides are free radicals that can attack a healthy body.
- The amount of benefits you receive from antioxidant-rich foods is very much dependant on your body capacity to breakdown and absorb these foods.
Variety is the key when it comes to eat foods high in antioxidants. Don’t just focus on the top 2 or 3 choices. Foods with darker, richer colors like orange, yellow, blue, and red tend to be higher in antioxidants, and with all these choices, you’ll never become bored or run out of delicious, nutritious options. Spice up your life with variety!
Lastly, the USDA’s dietary guidelines for Americans recommend between 5 to 13 portions of fruit and vegetables per day, depending on calorie intake.