Foods High in Antioxidants – 10 of the Best!
When I first started to take an interest in health and nutrition one of the first things I researched were foods high in antioxidants, why? Because antioxidants have the power to neutralize and fight all of those awful free radicals that roam around inside our bodies causing all sorts of potential illnesses, not to mention cancer!
So which foods are high in antioxidants? Here are my top 10.
Blueberries contain so many different antioxidants we would probably need a whole page just to talk about them. We have vitamin C, quercetin, resveratrol and another vitamin which some believe to have antioxidant properties vitamin K and that really is naming just a few! You can probably see why the super blueberry is the second most consumed berry in the US.
Oranges are packed full of Vitamin C, one of the most powerful antioxidants around. If you think that just taking your daily vitamin C supplement is enough then think again. The human body absorbs nutrients much easier and can make much better use of them when they are accompanied by their natural pulp and fibres. Pure orange juice will definitely trump supplements but you can’t beat consuming the full fruit for optimum benefits if you ask me.
OK, red wine might not technically be classed as a food but it still deserves to be on the list doesn’t it. Jam-packed full of flavonoids, resveratrol and Catechins the antioxidants in red wine are considered to be the main reason that the French remain so healthy even though they have a diet which is high in saturated fats.
Dark chocolate is again high in the antioxidant flavonoids procyanidins & epicatechins. These free radical scavengers will not only help protect you from day to day illness but dark chocolate has also been shown to help in the fight against bad cholesterol protecting you from heart disease.
Nuts contains many of the different antioxidants including Zinc, Vitamin E, Manganese and copper – yes copper is an antioxidant, that came as a shock to me too. So instead of just viewing them as a holiday treat, why not add nuts into your diet on a more regular basis.
Believe it or not I actually went through a stage of eating cloves of raw garlic just to cash in on some of the antioxidant benefits. Needless to say my wife wasn’t all that pleased and to be honest it was a pretty disgusting exercise but garlic – along with its cousins the onion and the leek – contain powerful antioxidants known as Allium sulphur compounds. So garlic shouldn’t just keep the vampires away, but disease too.
Have you been convinced of the fact that coffee is bad for you? Well you may just change your mind when you look into the health benefits of coffee. Coffee is also the number one source of antioxidants for the average American today so it could be wise to think twice before cutting it out of your diet completely. Perhaps as with most things moderation is best.
Whole grains also contain some very important antioxidants known as Lignans and they also contain selenium. One study published in the British Journal of Nutrition showed that in increased intake of Lignans also contributed to weight loss, yet another reason to go for whole grains instead of those nasty refined ones. Speaking of whole grains I also like to go for whole grain Pasta and Pizza (Home-made of course) which kind of links in with my next high antioxidant food.
Tomatoes and in turn natural tomato sauces contains high levels of an antioxidant known as Lycopene. Lycopene’s powerful antioxidant action has been shown to help maintain the strength and fluidity of cell membranes. It is also thought to be more powerful than its counterpart that carotenoid, which leads me on to our next food.
I just love a nice warm bowl of carrot and coriander soup, do you? Good because carrots contain another potent antioxidant known as beta-carotene which can be converted into vitamin A. As mentioned in the last paragraph beta-carotene also helps to prevent cells from damage but interestingly it is also thought to help reduce the symptoms of asthma.
One more for fun – The Apple
I know I said we were only doing 10 but how could I finish this list without mentioning the humble Apple! We’ve all heard the saying ‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away’ and if the antioxidant levels contained in apples are anything to go by then this saying simply couldn’t be more true. Although apples contain only modest amounts of vitamin C, the flavonoids contained in apples have been proven to be more potent than the large amounts of vitamin C contained in other fruits. Apples truly do pack on antioxidant punch that no free radical would like to be on the receiving end of.
What is your favourite food high in antioxidants?