Although research may look promising, particularly with regard to vitamin E, food remains the smart choice for where to obtain your antioxidants. Studies consistently demonstrate that for optimum health, you should eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables every day as part of a balanced diet. Below is a list of where to find specific antioxidants. If you are interested in taking antioxidant supplements, talk to your doctor about what is right for you.
High Antioxidant Foods List
Antioxidants may be easier to add to your diet than you might think. Based on ORAC scores provided by the Nutrient Data Laboratory, Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center and Agricultural Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, below are some of the top antioxidant foods by weight:
- Goji berries: 25,000 ORAC score
- Wild blueberries: 14,000 ORAC score
- Dark chocolate: 21,000 ORAC score
- Pecans: 17,000 ORAC score
- Artichoke: 9,400 ORAC score
- Elderberries: 14,000 ORAC score
- Kidney beans: 8,400 ORAC score
- Cranberries: 9,500 ORAC score
- Blackberries: 5,300 ORAC score
- Cilantro: 5,100 ORAC score
The ORAC scores above are based on weight. This means that it might not be practical to eat high amounts of all of these antioxidant foods. Other high antioxidant foods not listed above, which are still great sources and highly beneficial, include common foods like tomatoes, carrots, pumpkin seeds, sweet potatoes, pomegranates, strawberries, kale, broccoli, grapes or red wine, squash, and wild-caught salmon. Try to consume at least three to four servings daily of these high antioxidant foods (even more is better) for optimal health.
Antioxidant Herbs List
Along with antioxidant foods, certain herbs, spices and essential oils derived from nutrient-dense plants are extremely high in healing antioxidant compounds. Here is another list of the herbs you can try adding to your diet for increased protection against disease. Many of these herbs/spices are also available in concentrated essential oil form. Look for 100 percent pure (therapeutic grade) oils, which are highest in antioxidants.
- Clove: 314,446 ORAC score
- Cinnamon: 267,537 ORAC score
- Oregano: 159,277 ORAC score
- Turmeric: 102,700 ORAC score
- Cocoa: 80,933 ORAC score
- Cumin: 76,800 ORAC score
- Parsley (dried): 74,349 ORAC score
- Basil: 67,553 ORAC score
- Ginger: 28,811 ORAC score
- Thyme: 27,426 ORAC score
- Other antioxidant-rich herbs include garlic, cayenne pepper and green tea. Aim to consume two to three servings of these herbs or herbal teas daily.
Top Health Benefits of Antioxidant Foods
1. Slow the Effects of Aging by Reducing Free Radical Damage
As described above, the single most important benefit of antioxidants is counteracting free radicals found inside every human body, which are very destructive to things like tissue and cells. Free radicals are responsible for contributing to many health issues and have connections to such diseases as cancer and premature aging of the skin or eyes.
What do free radicals do exactly, and why are they so destructive? The body uses antioxidants to prevent itself from the damage caused by oxygen. Electrons exist in pairs; free radicals are missing an electron. This is their weapon of sorts. They “react” with just about anything they come into contact with, robbing cells and compounds of one of their electrons. This makes the affected cell or compound unable to function and turns some cells into “electron-seeking muggers,” leading to a chain reaction in the body and the proliferation of free radicals. Free radicals then damage DNA, cellular membranes and enzymes.
2. Protect Vision and the Eyes
The antioxidants vitamin C, vitamin E and beta-carotene have all been shown to have positive effects on preventing macular degeneration, or age-related vision loss/blindness. Many foods that provide these nutrients also supply antioxidants called lutein and zeaxanthin, nicknamed the eye vitamins, and found in brightly coloured foods like fruits and vegetables — especially leafy greens and types that are deep orange or yellow.
These antioxidants are believed to be easily transported around the body, especially to the delicate parts of the eyes called the macula and the lens. In fact, there are more than 600 different types of carotenoids found in nature, but only about 20 make their way into the eyes. (4) Of those 20, lutein and zeaxanthin are the only two that are deposited in high quantities into the macular portion of the eyes, which is one of the earliest to be damaged during aging.
Based on concentrations of things like lutein and other carotenoids, examples of antioxidant foods that protect vision include spinach, kale, berries, broccoli and even egg yolks. Research shows that high-lutein sources like spinach are proven to help decrease eye related degeneration and improve visual acuity. (5) Similarly, flavonoid antioxidants found in berries, such as bilberries or grapes (also a great source of the antioxidant resveratrol), may be especially beneficial at supporting vision into older age.
3. Reduce the Effects of Aging on the Skin
Perhaps most noticeably, free radicals speed up the aging process when it comes to the appearance and health of your skin. Antioxidants may help combat this damage, especially from eating sources high in vitamin C, beta-carotene and other antioxidants.
Vitamin A and C have been connected to a decrease in the appearance of wrinkles and skin dryness. Vitamin C, specifically, is a powerful antioxidant that can help reduce the effect of oxidative damage caused by pollution, stress or poor diet. Vitamin A deficiency has also been linked to skin dryness, scaling and follicular thickening of the skin. Similarly to how free radicals damage surface skin cells, keratinization of the skin, when the epithelial cells lose their moisture and become hard and dry, can occur in the mucous membranes of the respiratory, gastrointestinal tract and urinary tract.
Source References: Visit Dr. Axe’s site for more information
Throughout this process, we include the use of IMMUNOClean™ as a vital component towards the success of one’s health. Before beginning any program, be sure you have consulted your DBM Physician / Practitioner.
Warning: do not undergo any program if you are pregnant, without first consulting your DBM Physician / Primary Care Physician, or primary healthcare phys