What Are Antioxidants?


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
8 Blackberry 1 cup 7,701
9 Prune Half cup 7,291
10 Raspberry 1 cup 6,058
11 Strawberry 1 cup 5,938
12 Red Delicious apple 1 whole 5,900
13 Granny Smith apple 1 whole 5,381
14 Pecan 1 ounce 5,095
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
19 Plum 1 whole 4,118
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!


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Erin Elizabeth


Erin Elizabeth is a long time activist with a passion for the healing arts, working in that arena for a quarter century. Her site HealthNutNews.com is barely 4 years old, but cracked the top 20 Natural Health sites worldwide. She is an author, public speaker, and has recently done some TV and film programs for some of her original work which have attracted international media coverage. Erin was the recipient for the Doctors Who Rock "Truth in Journalism award for 2017. You can get Erin’s free e-book here and also watch a short documentary on how she overcame vaccine injuries, Lyme disease, significant weight gain, and more. Follow Erin on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

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Sources and References

  1. Greatist, June 26, 2016.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.