By Ağustos 17, 2023 No Comments

We’re all supposed to eat a “healthy diet,” but what does that really mean? Off the bat, you probably think getting enough protein and fatty acids (notably the vital omega-3s), plus important vitamins and minerals. But there’s also the less obvious; things like prebiotics and antioxidants.

Antioxidants defend the body from free radical damage. Free radicals are unstable molecules that knock around, pillaging electrons from other molecules thus causing DNA damage and oxidative stress. When free radicals run amok the damage they cause contributes to premature aging, and chronic diseases.

Antioxidants limit free radical formation and neutralize them when their numbers become too great. Plants and animal foods deliver important antioxidant vitamins, minerals, flavonoids, carotenoids, and other substances that the body can’t produce itself. To cover your antioxidant bases, since there’s no way to avoid free radicals, here are some antioxidant-rich foods to include in your diet.

How Do You Measure Antioxidant Levels in Foods?


Certain antioxidants are easy to quantify. You can use any food tracking app to look up the amounts of antioxidant vitamins A, C, and E you consume in a day.

Others, like antioxidant enzymes, are more complicated. Scientists have devised various methods of measuring the total antioxidant capacity of different foods.

The most well-known antioxidant index is the ORAC score.  ORAC, or oxygen radical absorbance capacity, was developed by scientists at the National Institute of Aging in 1992. Despite its popularity, the USDA renounced ORAC in 2012, on the grounds that ORAC doesn’t necessarily predict how much antioxidant activity happens in the body and to discourage supplement manufacturers from making strong claims about the power of their antioxidant formulations.

Nevertheless, researchers continue to use ORAC, and it remains the best way for the average person to look up which foods have relatively higher or lower antioxidant content. Don’t get too hung up on the numbers though. The question of whether these foods supercharge your body’s ability to fight free radicals is still up for debate.

The best reason to consider antioxidant values is that you’ll probably end up revisiting some otherwise nutritious foods you might not be eating already. The foods that tend to score high on the antioxidant metrics are also ones that are widely considered healthy by other standards – colorful vegetables, organ meat, seafood.

Super Food List: High-Antioxidant Foods

Plant foods high in antioxidants


Plant foods tend to be higher in antioxidants than animal products, though the latter are still important for checking certain antioxidant boxes.

Here are 12 plant-based foods and beverages that can boost your antioxidant intake:

  1. Berries
  2. Coffee
  3. Chocolate (the darker the better)
  4. Chia seeds
  5. Artichokes
  6. Plums and prunes
  7. Pistachios
  8. Pomegranates
  9. Figs
  10. Kalamata olives
  11. Kale
  12. Green tea

Animal foods high in antioxidants

 On an absolute basis, the antioxidant capacity of these foods is lower than the plant foods above. However, these animal foods are among the best sources of the trace minerals copper, selenium, iron, manganese, and zinc, plus other antioxidants like lutein that are crucial pieces of the body’s antioxidant defense system.

  1. Liver
  2. Oysters
  3. Salmon
  4. Crab
  5. Lamb
  6. Beef
  7. Eggs
  8. Mussels
  9. Tuna
  10. Sardines

Think about this my friends; do you think about antioxidants when putting together your meal plan, or is that not really a consideration? What are your favorite antioxidant foods?

That’s it for now; see you all the next time.


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