7 Healthy Foods High in Antioxidants
Antioxidants are compounds produced in your body and found in foods. They help defend your cells from damage caused by potentially harmful molecules known as free radicals.
When free radicals accumulate, they may cause a state known as oxidative stress. This may damage your DNA and other important structures in your cells.
Sadly, chronic oxidative stress can increase your risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer.
Fortunately, eating a diet rich in antioxidants can help increase your blood antioxidant levels to fight oxidative stress and reduce the risk of these diseases.
Scientists use several tests to measure the antioxidant content of foods.
One of the best tests is the FRAP (ferric reducing ability of plasma) analysis. It measures the antioxidant content of foods by how well they can neutralize a specific free radical.
The higher the FRAP value, the more antioxidants the food contains.
Here are the top 7 healthy foods that are high in antioxidants:
7. Goji Berries
Goji berries are the dried fruits of two related plants, Lycium barbarum and Lycium chinense.
They have been a part of traditional Chinese medicine for more than 2,000 years.
Goji berries are often marketed as a superfood because they are rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Based on a FRAP analysis, goji berries contain 4.3 mmol of antioxidants per 3.5 ounces (100 grams).
In addition, goji berries contain unique antioxidants known as Lyceum barbarumpolysaccharides. These have been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease and cancer, and may help combat skin aging.
Moreover, goji berries may also be very effective at raising blood antioxidant levels.
In one study, healthy elderly people consumed a milk-based goji berry drink every day for 90 days. By the end of the study, their blood antioxidant levels had risen by 57%.
While goji berries are nutritious, they can be expensive to eat on a regular basis.
Moreover, there are only a handful of studies on the effects of goji berries in humans. Though these support their health benefits, more human-based research is needed.
Artichokes are a delicious and nutritious vegetable not very common in the North American diet.
But they have a long history — people in ancient times used their leaves as a remedy to treat liver conditions like jaundice.
Artichokes are also a great source of dietary fiber, minerals and antioxidants.
Based on a FRAP analysis, artichokes contain up to 4.7 mmol of antioxidants per 3.5 ounces (100 grams).
Artichokes are especially rich in the antioxidant known as chlorogenic acid. Studies suggest that the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits of chlorogenic acid may reduce the risk of certain cancers, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
The antioxidant content of artichokes can vary, depending on how they are prepared.
Boiling artichokes may raise their antioxidant content by eight times, and steaming them may raise it by 15 times. On the other hand, frying artichokes may reduce their antioxidant content.
Strawberries are among the most popular berries on the planet. They are sweet, versatile and a rich source of vitamin C and antioxidants.
Based on a FRAP analysis, strawberries provide up to 5.4 mmol of antioxidants per 3.5 ounces (100 grams).
Moreover, strawberries contain a type of antioxidant called anthocyanin, which give them their red color. Strawberries that have a higher anthocyanin content tend to be brighter red.
Research has shown that anthocyanin may help reduce the risk of heart disease by reducing levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol and raising “good” HDL cholesterol.
A review of 10 studies found that taking an anthocyanin supplement significantly reduced LDL cholesterol among people who had either heart disease or high LDL levels.
SUMMARY: Like other berries, strawberries are rich in antioxidants called anthocyanins, which may help reduce the risk of heart disease.
Although they are low in calories, blueberries are packed with nutrients and antioxidants.
According to a FRAP analysis, blueberries have up to 9.2 mmol of antioxidants per 3.5 ounces (100 grams).
Several studies even suggest that blueberries contain the highest amount of antioxidants among all commonly consumed fruits and vegetables.
In addition, research from test-tube and animal studies has shown that the antioxidants in blueberries may delay the decline in brain function that tends to happen with age.
Researchers have suggested that the antioxidants in blueberries may be responsible for this effect. They’re thought to do this by neutralising harmful free radicals, reducing inflammation and changing the expression of certain genes.
Additionally, the antioxidants in blueberries, especially a type called anthocyanin, have been shown to reduce risk factors for heart disease, lowering LDL cholesterol levels and blood pressure.
SUMMARY: Blueberries are among the best sources of antioxidants in the diet. They are rich in anthocyanins and other antioxidants that may help reduce the risk of heart disease and delay the decline in brain function that happens with age.
Lucky for chocolate lovers, dark chocolate is nutritious. It has more cocoa than regular chocolate, as well as more minerals and antioxidants.
Based on the FRAP analysis, dark chocolate has up to 15 mmol of antioxidants per 3.5 ounces (100 grams). This is even more than blueberries and raspberries, which contain up to 9.2 and 2.3 mmol of antioxidants in the same serving size, respectively.
Moreover, the antioxidants in cocoa and dark chocolate have been linked to impressive health benefits such as less inflammation and reduced risk factors for heart disease.
For example, a review of 10 studies looked at the link between cocoa intake and blood pressure in both healthy people and those with high blood pressure.
Consuming cocoa-rich products like dark chocolate reduced systolic blood pressure (the upper value) by an average of 4.5 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure (the lower value) by an average of 2.5 mmHg.
Another study found that dark chocolate may reduce the risk of heart disease by raising blood antioxidant levels, raising levels of “good” HDL cholesterol and preventing “bad” LDL cholesterol from becoming oxidized.
Oxidized LDL cholesterol is harmful because it promotes inflammation in the blood vessels, which can lead to an increased risk of heart disease.
SUMMARY: Dark chocolate is delicious, nutritious and one of the best sources of antioxidants. Generally speaking, the higher the cocoa content, the more antioxidants the chocolate contains.
Pecans are a type of nut native to Mexico and South America. They are a good source of healthy fats and minerals, plus contain a high amount of antioxidants.
Based on a FRAP analysis, pecans contain up to 10.6 mmol of antioxidants per 3.5 ounces (100 grams).
In addition, pecans can help raise antioxidant levels in the blood.
For example, a study found that people who consumed 20% of their daily calories from pecans experienced significantly increased blood antioxidant levels.
In another study, people who consumed pecans experienced a 26–33% fall in oxidised blood LDL levels within two to eight hours. High levels of oxidised LDL cholesterol in the blood is a risk factor for heart disease.
Although pecans are a great source of healthy fats, they are also high in calories. So it’s important to eat pecans in moderation to avoid consuming too many calories.
SUMMARY: Pecans are popular nuts rich in minerals, healthy fats and antioxidants. They may also help raise blood antioxidant levels and lower bad cholesterol.
1. Carbon 60
Carbon 60 is the NEW world’s most efficient known free radical scavenger and is 172 times more powerful than Vitamin C.Carbon 60 fullerenes possess large amount of conjugated double bonds and low lying lowest unoccupied molecular orbital which can easily take up an electron from an attack of an oxygen radical.
34 oxygen radicals have been added onto a single C60 molecule. The fullerene can react with many superoxides without being consumed.
Carbon 60 fullerene derivatives are rapidly absorbed by tissues and excreted through urinary tract.
Carbon 60 fullerenes are so small that they are able to cross the blood-brain barrier.
The Bottom Line
Antioxidants are compounds that your body makes naturally. You can also get them from foods.
They protect your body from potentially harmful molecules known as free radicals, which can accumulate and promote oxidative stress. Unfortunately, oxidative stress raises the risk of heart disease, cancers, type 2 diabetes and many other chronic diseases.
Fortunately, eating a diet rich in antioxidants can help neutralize free radicals and reduce the risk of these chronic diseases.
By eating a any of the foods in this article, you can boost your blood levels of antioxidants and reap their many health benefits.