antioxidantsWith so much publicity over the benefits of antioxidants, I am sure that you have heard about the health benefits of antioxidants. But do you know what an antioxidant is and how they actually work?

Antioxidants are dietary substances including some nutrients such as beta carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E and selenium. These nutrients can prevent damage  to your body cells or repair damage that has been done.

Antioxidants significantly slow or prevent the oxidative damage from oxygen.   Oxidative damage is a process caused by substances called free radicals that can lead to cell dysfunction, inflammation and the onset of problems like heart disease and diabetes.  Antioxidants can also improve immune function and perhaps lower your risk for infection and cancer.  Its an antidote for resisting the aging process.

As an example, in your body, the antioxidant process is similar to stopping an apple from browning. Once you cut an apple, it begins to brown, but if you dip it in orange juice, which contains vitamin C, it stays white.  You probably are familiar with the Vitamin C products in the facial products being associated with anti-aging characteristics.  The recommendations for a diet containing plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains and nuts is to supply all the antioxidants your body needs.

I’ve been introduced to numerous different products that contain high antioxidants.  However, below is a list with foods that are high in ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) values.  These foods are your best source of antioxidants from natural sources.

  • Cinnamon, 267,536*
  • Dry small red bean, 13727
  • Pecan, 5095
  • Red Delicious apple, 5900
  • Wild blueberry, 13427
  • Aronia, black chokeberry, 16062
  • Dry red kidney bean, 13259
  • Granny Smith apple, 5381
  • Blueberry, 9019
  • Dry pinto bean, 11864
  • Black plum, 4844
  • Cranberry, 8983
  • Dry black bean, 4181
  • Russet potato, cooked, 4649
  • Artichoke hearts, 7904
  • Prune, 7291
  • Plum, 4118
  • Blackberry, cultivated, 7701
  • Gala apple, 3903
  • Raspberry, 6058
  • Strawberry, 5938
  • Sweet cherry, 4873

*Numbers refer to ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) values

Nutrient Data Laboratory, Agriculture Research Service, US Department of Agriculture, Oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) of Selected Foods – 2007

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