I recently realized that we speak a LOT about antioxidants on this site and some of you might not totally understand what they are. So, read on.
While many of us try and eat the foods that are good for our hearts or guts, what about our cells? Well, those would be the foods packed with- you guessed it- antioxidants.
“Antioxidants occur naturally in plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, coffee, tea, wine, and chocolate. While there are thousands of antioxidant compounds out there, you’ve probably heard of flavanols (found in chocolate), resveratrol (found in wine), and lycopene (found in tomatoes). Other popular antioxidants include vitamins A (beta-carotene), C, E, and catechins.” 1
And these helpfully little suckers help to prevent or stop the cell damage caused by oxidants (free radicals found in the environment and produced naturally in our body). Now, oxidants aren’t all bad; our bodies create them to help fight off viruses and microbes. But, if we have too many, they can cause serious damage and contribute to certain cancers and heart disease.
So, in those instances, when we have too many oxidants- antioxidants are our saving grace! They load up our cells and protect us from disease with zero side effects. That is unless we have too many. If we have too many, we can suppress our body’s ability to turn on its antioxidant defense system (although it’s difficult to acquire too many from just our diet).
Now that you’re armed with this info- are you hungry? Check out this list from WebMD and get snackin’!
|Rank||Food item||Serving size||Total antioxidant capacity
per serving size
|1||Small Red Bean (dried)||Half cup||13,727|
|2||Wild blueberry||1 cup||13,427|
|3||Red kidney bean (dried)||Half cup||13,259|
|4||Pinto bean||Half cup||11,864|
|5||Blueberry (cultivated)||1 cup||9,019|
|6||Cranberry||1 cup (whole)||8,983|
|7||Artichoke (cooked)||1 cup (hearts)||7,904|
|12||Red Delicious apple||1 whole||5,900|
|13||Granny Smith apple||1 whole||5,381|
|15||Sweet cherry||1 cup||4,873|
|16||Black plum||1 whole||4,844|
|17||Russet potato (cooked)||1 whole||4,649|
|18||Black bean (dried)||Half cup||4,181|
|20||Gala apple||1 whole||3,903|
Also, when you have the option to, eat your fruits and veggies WITH THE SKIN ON since that’s where the antioxidants are found. And one more thing, make sure to eat ALL the colors- because that’s where the phytochemicals are and phytochemicals are also able to reduce oxidative damage to our cells.
The takeaway? Fruits and veggies are all good things. So eat em’ up!