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Superfoods: High Antioxidant Foods

top common antioxidant foods

There are many types of antioxidants and antioxidant lists showing their ORAC values. The following list gives twenty common high antioxidant foods.

Rank Food Serving
Size
Total Antioxidants
Capacity per
Serving Size
1 Small Red Bean
(Dried)
½ Cup 13747 High Antioxidant Foods: Red Beans
2 Blueberry (Wild) ½ Cup 13427 High Antioxidant Foods: Wild Blueberry
3 Red Kidney Bean
(Dried)
½ Cup 13259 High Antioxidant Foods: Red Kidney Bean
4 Pinto Bean ½ Cup 11864 High Antioxidant Foods: Pinto Bean
5 Blueberry (Cultivated) 1 Cup ­9019 High Antioxidant Foods: Cultivated Blueberry
6 Cranberry
(Whole Berries)
1 Cup 8983 High Antioxidant Foods: Cranberries
7 Artichoke Hearts
(Cooked)
1 Cup 7094 High Antioxidant Foods: Artichoke Hearts
8 Blackberry 1 Cup 7701 High Antioxidant Foods: Blackberries
9 Prune ½  Cup 7291 High Antioxidant Foods: Prune
10 Raspberry 1 Cup 6058 High Antioxidant Foods: Raspberry
11 Strawberry 1 Cup 5398 High Antioxidant Foods: Strawberry
12 Red Delicious 1 Apple 5900 High Antioxidant Foods: Red Delicious Apple
13 Granny Smith 1 Appple 5381 High Antioxidant Foods: Granny Smith Apple
14 Pecan 1 Ounce 5095 High Antioxidant Foods: Pecan
15 Sweet Cherry 1 Cup 4873 High Antioxidant Foods: Sweet Cherry
16 Black Plum 1 Plum 4844 High Antioxidant Foods: Black Plum
17 Russett Potato 1 Cooked 4649 High Oxidant Foods: Russet Potato
18 Black Beans (Dried) ½ Cup 4181 High Antioxidant Foods: Black Beans
19 Plum 1 Plum 4118 High Antioxidant Food: Plum
20 Gala 1 Apple 3903 High Antioxidant Foods: Gala Apple

Further High Antioxidant Foods


As well as the foods listed in the above table, there are many other high antioxidant foods that are essential to a healthy well-balanced diet and providing your daily antioxidant requirements.

As mentioned at the start of this article, the number of antioxidants are many and varied, here we’ll take a look at the three principal ones: Phytonutrients, Enzymes and Vitamins, that can be found in high antioxidant foods.

  • Phytonutrients

    Naturally found in plants that use them to reduce the effects of damage caused through free radicals. Studies have shown that, when eaten, these same antioxidant phytonutrients found in plants are of benefit to humans.

    Whole grains, fruit, and vegetables, are natural sources of phytonutrients. There are very little or none in processed and refined foods!

    There are four categories of phytonutrients: Carotenoids, Flavenoids, Polyphenols and Allyl Sulphides. Let’s take them in the order they appear.

    • Carotenoids

      Found in many bright red, yellow and orange fruits and vegetables. They include:

      • Carrots
      • Sweet Potatoes
      • Tomatoes
      • Leafy Green Vegetables, particularly dark ones
      • Butternut Squash
      • Sweet Red Peppers
      • Dried Apricots
      • Mangoes
      • Cantaloupes.
    • Flavenoids

      With over 6,000 identified phytonutrients, including sub-categories anthocyanidins, flavones, flavonones, flavanols, and flavon-3-ols, flavenoids are probably the largest of the antioxidant phytonutrients group.

      There are so many different high antioxidant foods containing flavenoids, recent research has shown that consuming a wide variety of these foods may have many health benefits, including anti-inflammable properties and preventing weight gain.

      It has also been found that it may also result in modest weight loss over a period of time, although it is not suggested that anyone on a healthy, well-balanced calorie-controlled weight loss diet should dispense with it, as many of the foods listed will already be included in your diet and give you all the flavenoids you need.

      There are so many different high antioxidants foods found in flavenoids it’s impossible to list them all here, but the following are some of the more common ones:

      • Anthocyanidins
        • Apples
        • Onions
        • Tomotoes
        • Sweet Potatoes
        • Almonds
        • Turnip Greens
        • Romaine lettuce
        • Quinoa
        • Garbanzo Beans.
      • Flavones
        • Apples
        • Cantaloupe
        • Watermelon
        • Oranges
        • Bell Peppers
        • Chili Peppers
        • Celery
        • Parsley.
      • Flavonones
        • Tomatoes
        • Oranges
        • Grapefruit
        • Limes
        • Lemons.
      • Flavonols
        • Leeks
        • Onions
        • Kale
        • Broccoli
        • Turnip Greens
        • Sweet Potatoes
        • Romaine Lettuce
        • Tomatoes
        • Apples
        • Black Grapes
        • Blueberries
        • Quinoa
        • Garbanzo Beans
        • Almonds
        • Black and Green Tea.
      • Flavon-3-ols
        • Black and Green Tea
        • Dark Chocolate (Cocoa)
        • Apples
        • Bananas
        • Blueberries
        • Peaches
        • Pears
        • Strawberries.
  • Enzymes

    Currenty it is estimated there are around 75,000 different enzymes existing in our bodies, and vital in keeping us alive. Without enzymes we wouldn’t exist!

    With all these different enzymes, all doing different jobs and all constructed differently, it would need a book to explain them in depth, but I hope the information below will give you some insight and understanding as to why enzymes are so important to us humans.

    Enzymes are divided into three main categories: digestive enzymes, metabolic enzymes, and food enzymes, and are found in all forms of living things: animal, plant, bacteria, fungi.

    Enzymes are often referred to as the biochemical agents of human life, without them we wouldn’t be able to breathe or digest the food that we eat or the fluids that we drink, and play a major part in the healing of wounds and protecting us from deadly bacterial infections.

    The majority of enzymes are manufactured by are bodies, with around half being found in saliva. Bacteria is also a producer of enzymes, around twenty-five percent; and the pancreas are also an important producer, although a healthy diet, such as the Mediterranean Diet, one of the healthiest in the world, Diet – The Mediterranean Diet is important in providing many of the enzymes we need daily.

    Fruit and vegetables are the main source of high antioxidant foods for these additional enzymes, and should be eaten raw whenever possible, as cooking or microwaving destroys most enzymes. If cooking is necessary, steaming rather than boiling will help preserve some of the enzymes.

    It is also important to make sure the foods are as fresh as possible, as the longer food is stored the more the enzymes become unstable, particularly if not kept in a cool place.

    Did you know that your body has much in common with your local recycling center where you take your used paper, bottles, cans, plastics, etc, to be recycled into new materials?

    Just as your household waste has become useless once used, and needs to be recycled into new materials, so do the cells in your body, once used, need to be recycled into new cells.

    There are billions of cells in your body that need to be replaced on a daily basis, and this is why an adequate amount of enzymes need to be maintained to allow this process to take place.

    A major part the enzymes play is breaking down these used cells, and the ingredients, such as lipids and protein they contained, are used to create new cells, helping to keep us healthy and restricting over production of free radicals.

  • Vitamins

    Although there are thirteen essential vitamins that we need to stay healthy, there are three, A, C and E that not only supply us with essential nutrients, but protect us against over production of free radicals. Let’s take a look at them in the order they appear

    • Vitamin A

      Together with the provitamin A, also known as beta carotene, which converts to vitamin A in your body, they help in controlling over-production of free radicals.

      As well as providing protection from free radicals, vitamin A and beta carotene are also responsible for healthy vision and cell growth, and keeping major organs like heart, kidneys and lungs, healthy and in good working order.

      Foods rich in vitamin A can be found in many animal sourced foods:

      • Beef Liver
      • Lambs Liver
      • Fish Oil
      • Milk
      • Egg Yolk
      • Butter
      • Cheese.

      Foods rich in beta carotene are found in vegetables, particularly brightly colored red, orange and yellow ones. It is beta carotene that gives them their color:

      • Sweet Potato
      • Sweet Red Peppers
      • Carrots
      • Butternut Squash
      • Tomatoes.

      Other sources rich in beta carotene are leafy vegetables, especially dark ones:

      • Kale
      • Spinach
      • Turnip Greens
      • Collards
      • Romaine Lettuce
      • Swiss Chard.

      Many fruits also contain rich sources of beta carotene, including:

      • Watermelon
      • Cantaloupe
      • Mango
      • Grapefruit (Red or Pink)
      • Nectarines
      • Tangerines.
    • Vitamin C

      You will find there are many high antioxidant foods that apply to vitamin A also apply to vitamin C, but there are other high antioxidant foods that are mainly applicable to vitamin C.

      We’ve already seen leafy green vegetables in vitamin A that also apply to Vitamin C. Let’s look at others that apply to vitamin C, these are mainly members of the brassica family:

      • Broccoli
      • Cauliflower (Green and White)
      • Brussels Sprouts
      • Cabbage (Red and White)
      • Savoy Cabbage.

      Again, there are many high antioxidant fruits that are applicable to both vitamins A and C. There are also many that are applicable mainly to vitamin C. These include berries, citrus, and other fruits:

      • Green Kiwifruit
      • Pineapple
      • Papaya
      • Guavas
      • Cherries
      • Strawberries
      • Black Currants
      • Blueberries
      • Raspberries
      • Blackberries
      • Oranges
      • Limes
      • Lemons.
    • Vitamin E

      Many of the high antioxidant foods, including vegetables and some fruits, that we’ve seen in vitamins A and C are also applicable to vitamin E, but a major source are nuts and seeds Here is a list of some of the main ones:

      • Walnuts
      • Almonds
      • Hazelnuts
      • Pine Nuts
      • Pecans
      • Peanuts
      • Brazil Nuts
      • Sunflower Seeds
      • Sesame Seeds
      • Pumpkin Seeds.

      There are also many oils that are high in antioxidants, and derived from plants and seeds. It is recommended that only organic and unrefined oils are purchased. These include:

      • Olive Oil
      • Wheatgerm Oil
      • Flax Seed Oil
      • Hemp Seed Oil
      • Sunflower Seed Oil
      • Coconut Oil
      • Safflower Seed Oil
      • Walnut Oil.

By practicing a healthy lifestyle and diet, weight loss or otherwise, there are many other foods, apart from the ones mentioned, that can be included in your diet, and will give you all the nutrients you need to stay healthy without resorting to supplements.

Before taking supplements it is advisable to consult your medical practitioner, who can carry out simple tests to determine if you are deficient in certain vitamins or minerals, and, if necessary, provide the correct medication.

If the tests prove negative, what’s the point in paying for something you don’t need? And, maybe even worse, overdosing. Overdosing on certain vitamins and minerals can lead to long term damage to vital organs including the kidneys and liver.

That’s about it for high antioxidant foods, I hope you found it useful. In the following article on superfoods, we’ll take a look at free radicals.

Superfoods: Free Radicals

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