When it comes to antioxidants, most of us know what they do for our health, as they help our body kill bacteria and fight free radicals that damage healthy cells and our DNA. Without antioxidants in our diet, we increase our susceptibility to cancer cells and premature aging. Although we’ve heard through the grapevine several fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of antioxidants, we’re often unsure of what they are and why they do our body good. To put our antioxidant worries to rest, let’s look at the 10 best antioxidant-rich foods ranked by Aashpazi.com.
The best way to consume antioxidant foods is to include them in our daily diet. These foods tend to be nutrient-dense and have other health benefits. A rule of thumb when it comes to antioxidants is to “eat the rainbow.” When you think antioxidants, think “ACE.” Vitamins A, C, and E are some of the best sources of antioxidants, Carissa Bealert, registered dietician nutritionist and certified personal trainer, told Medical Daily. “Berries in general are very high in antioxidants, but other foods you might not think of like kidney beans, red beans, artichokes, and the humble Russet potato are excellent sources too,” she said.
The deep taste and sticky, chewy texture of this dried fruit is high in antioxidants, as it is considered a cancer protector and a good source of vitamins. Prunes can effectively lower your cholesterol and boost your bone health. Eating a one-quarter cup serving of prunes, or four prunes, according to the United States Department of Agriculture, will provide you with 12 percent of the daily value for fiber, 32 percent of DV for vitamin K, and nine percent of the DV for potassium.
These fruits are loaded with antioxidants and help you lose weight. They're also very beneficial to maintaining cardiovascular health. “While all fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants, the so-called "superfoods" with the higher amounts include berries (wild blueberries, goji berries, acai berries, red berries),” Alissa Rumsey, registered dietitian and spokesperson for the New York State Dietetic Association, told Medical Daily.
Cloves are known to be a great antibacterial and anti-fungal medicine. They are typically used in spices, but they are effective in reducing inflammation, toothache, and even improve our sexual health. A 2009 study found cloves are the best natural antioxidant because they have the highest capacity to give off hydrogen and to reduce lipid peroxidation and iron. Foods in the brown family like cacao and cinnamon are also excellent sources of antioxidants, too.
It comes as no surprise, strawberries make the top 10 best antioxidant-rich foods list, especially since they can be very health to eye health and maintaining healthy skin. This fruit reduces the bad cholesterol and can contribute to heart health. A 2011 study found strawberries boost blood antioxidant levels, and can help prevent chronic diseases. Strawberries have a large concentration of phenolic compounds, such as flavonoids known to have antioxidant properties. At a cellular level, they fight free radical production, and therefore, lower the risk from heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and dementia.
This super fruit can help boost the immune system. They are most known for their effectiveness in treating a urinary tract infection, but they are also helpful for kidney stones. A 2008 study found cranberry products have the highest level of phenols — a disease-fighting antioxidant — and can even reduce the risk of heart disease.
This super nut is known to deliver a powerful dose of cancer-fighting antioxidants. The American Cancer Society has noted ellagic acid — found in walnuts — is being studied to see if it has anti-cancer effects. These nuts have been known to be helpful in the treatment of type 2 diabetes and are beneficial to heart health.
This fruit is packed with antioxidants and can, like walnuts, be extremely helpful when it comes to heart health. They can balance blood sugar levels and are considered a diabetic medicine. Beth Ellen DiLuglio, a clinical nutritionist, registered dietician nutrition, and nutrition educator, shared with Medical Daily: “Berries, especially blackberries, blueberries and raspberries, top my list of impressive antioxidant sources. We eat them raw and they are such a concentrated source that you get a potent dose in every handful!”
8. Pinto Beans
Although they may seem unlikely to make the list, pinto beans are actually full of antioxidants and very high in fiber. In the U.S., it is estimated 8 lbs. of beans are consumed each year per person, as pinto beans and navy beans are the most popular. They are very beneficial to our digestive health.
Blackberries are considered to be one of the highest antioxidant-level fruits. The Berry Health Benefits Network from Oregon State University says blackberries are high in ellagic acid, vitamin C, and fiber, which both have been show to help reduce the risks of certain cancers. It is recommended to include a few ounces of blackberries in our daily breakfast diet.
10. Small Red Beans
Lastly, and surprisingly, small red beans round up the top 10 best antioxidant-rich foods. The USDA says the seed coat of the red kidney bean, which contains the color of the bean, is high in antioxidants. These beans are smaller than kidney beans and are shaped like pintos. They are known to be very beneficial to bones and teeth, and even lower the risk of heart attacks.
To boost your antioxidant intake, simply reach for more fruits and vegetables over supplements. Remember to “eat the rainbow.”