Foods High In Antioxidants

There’s a huge variety of foods that eliminate cancer-causing free radicals and lead to better health. Antioxidants remove free radicals from the body which can run rampant and actually damage cells, causing serious illness. Many health professionals use them for treatments of stroke and neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. They have also been helpful in treating brain injury and may slow and even prevent development of cancers.


There are numerous choices for antioxidant-rich foods: small red beans, wild blueberries, pinto beans, cultivated blueberries, cranberries, artichokes, blackberries, prunes, raspberries, strawberries, red delicious apples, Granny Smith apples, pecans, sweet cherries, black plums, russet potatoes, black beans, plums, gala apples, dark leafy greens.

Don’t like any foods on the list? Not to worry. The American Dietetic Association has jumped on the band wagon with their comprehensive guide to foods highest in antioxidants arranged by food groups:



Fruits.

Many fruits are high in antioxidants, packed with vitamins, and beneficial in a myriad of ways. These include cranberries, red grapes, peaches, raspberries, strawberries, red currants, figs, cherries, pears, guava, oranges, apricots, mango, red grapes, cantaloupe, watermelon, papaya, and tomatoes.


Dried Fruits

With the water removed, the antioxidant ratio is higher in dried fruits than in fresh. They can easily be carried with you in your purse, briefcase or car and they make a quick healthy snack. Consider taking along dried pears, plums, apples, peaches, figs, dates and raisins. However, be careful of sugar content; avoid dried fruits that have processed sugars added to them to make them sweeter.


Vegetables


Didn’t your mother always tell you to eat your vegetables? Broccoli, spinach, carrots and potatoes are all high in antioxidants, and so are artichokes, cabbage, asparagus, avocados, beetroot, radish, lettuce, sweet potatoes, squash, pumpkin, collard greens and kale.


Spices and Herbs


Using lots of spices in cooking is good. Many are loaded with antioxidants, like 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. All contribute complexity and flavor to your meals, but also are high in antioxidants.


Cereals and Nuts


Your morning corn flakes, oatmeal and granola bars pack a healthy punch, as do walnuts, hazelnuts, pistachio nuts, almonds, cashews, macadamia nuts and even that peanut butter sandwich.


Beverages


Contrary to popular belief, most of our antioxidants come from beverages. Apple juice, cider, tomato juice, pomegranate juice and pink grapefruit juice seem obvious, and green tea has become very popular as a source, but black tea and plain tea have high levels also. Here’s good news for those who love that cup of joe in the morning: coffee is high but should be consumed in moderation. Note that adding milk to coffee or tea blocks antioxidants. Speaking of moderation, red wine and especially beer (since it comes from grains) provide a big dose, and the healthy effects of moderate alcohol consumption have been well documented.

“Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables in a myriad of colors. 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. Variety is the spice of life.”

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