Antioxidants are substances that help prevent certain types of cell damage, especially those caused by oxidation.
When certain types of oxygen molecules are allowed to travel freely in the body they cause what is known as oxidative damage which is the formation of free radicals.
Free radicals are very dangerous to the body’s tissues and have been connected to cancer and premature aging. The body uses antioxidants to prevent itself from the damage caused by oxygen.
Oxidative damage plays a major role in disease today and has been linked to health conditions like heart disease, cancer and dementia.
Some of the benefits of consuming antioxidant rich foods include:
Healthy glowing skin
Reduced cancer risk
Longer life span
Most fruits, vegetables, and herbs contain antioxidants such as vitamin C, beta-carotene, flavanoids and lycopene. There is no RDA or Daily Value set for antioxidants.
The levels of antioxidants is evaluated by ORAC Score (oxygen radical absorption capacity) and tests the power of a plant to absorb and eliminate free radicals.
These measurements were developed by the National Institute of Aging and are based on 100 grams of each food or herb.
Top 10 High Antioxidant Foods List
1) Goji berries25,000 ORAC Score
2) Wild blueberries14,000 ORAC Score
3) Dark Chocolate21,000 ORAC Score
4) Pecans17,000 ORAC Score
5) Artichoke9,400 ORAC Score
6) Elderberries14,000 ORAC Score
7) Kidney Beans8,400 ORAC Score
8) Cranberries9,500 ORAC Score
9) Blackberries5,300 ORAC Score
10) Cilantro5,100 ORAC Score
Other antioxidant rich foods include: pomegranates, strawberries, kale, red wine and wild caught salmon. Try and consume 2-3 servings daily of these high antioxidant foods for optimal health.
Also, along with food, herbs and essential oils of plants are extremely high in antioxidants. Her is another list of the herbs and essential oils highest in antioxidants.
Top 10 Antioxidant Herbs List
1) Clove314,446 ORAC Score
2) Cinnamon267,537 ORAC Score
3) Oregano159,277 ORAC Score
4) Turmeric102,700 ORAC Score
5) Cocoa80,933 ORAC Score
6) Cumin76,800 ORAC Score
7) Parsley (dried)74,349 ORAC Score
8) Basil67,553 ORAC Score
9) Ginger28,811 ORAC Score
10) Thyme27,426 ORAC Score
Other antioxidant rich herbs include garlic, cayenne pepper and green tea. Try and consume 2-3 servings of these herbs daily.
Top Health Benefits of Antioxidant Foods
Antioxidants For EyesThe antioxidants vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta carotene have been shown to have an effect on preventing macular degeneration, or age-related blindness. Lutein and zeaxanthin found in spinach have also been proven to decrease eye related degeneration.
Flavanoid antioxidants found in bilberries and resveratrol found in grape skins have been shown to be especially beneficial at supporting vision.
Antioxidant Benefits For Skin HealthFree radicals formed by oxidative damage speed up the aging process, but antioxidants may help combat this damage. High intakes of vitamin C, beta carotene, and other antioxidants have been connected to a decrease in the appearance of wrinkles and skin dryness.
Vitamin C, specifically, is a powerful antioxidant which can help reduce the effect oxidative damage caused by pollution, stress, or poor diet.
Stroke and Heart DiseaseSince antioxidants help prevent against free radical damage, they may also protect against heart disease and stroke. At this point, the data does not show that all antioxidants are effective to protect against heart disease, but some, such as vitamin C may be.
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition featured a study that found those with high levels of vitamin C in their blood had almost a 50% decreased risk of stroke.