Antioxidants are substances that help prevent certain types of cell damage, especially those caused by oxidation.
When certain types of oxygen molecules are allowed to travel freely in the body they cause what is known as oxidative damage which is the formation of free radicals.
Free radicals are very dangerous to the body’s tissues and have been connected to cancer and premature aging. The body uses antioxidants to prevent itself from the damage caused by oxygen.
Oxidative damage plays a major role in disease today and has been linked to health conditions like heart disease, cancer and dementia.
Some of the benefits of consuming antioxidant rich foods include:
- Slower aging
- Healthy glowing skin
- Reduced cancer risk
- Detoxification support
- Longer life span
Most fruits, vegetables, and herbs contain antioxidants such as vitamin C, beta-carotene, flavonoids and lycopene. There is no RDA or Daily Value set for antioxidants.
The levels of antioxidants is evaluated by ORAC Score (oxygen radical absorption capacity) and tests the power of a plant to absorb and eliminate free radicals.
These measurements were developed by the National Institute of Aging and are based on 100 grams of each food or herb.
Top 10 High Antioxidant Foods List
1) Goji berries
25,000 ORAC Score
2) Wild blueberries
14,000 ORAC Score
3) Dark Chocolate
21,000 ORAC Score
17,000 ORAC Score
9,400 ORAC Score
14,000 ORAC Score
7) Kidney Beans
8,400 ORAC Score
9,500 ORAC Score
5,300 ORAC Score
5,100 ORAC Score
Other antioxidant rich foods include: pomegranates, strawberries, kale, red wine and wild caught salmon. Try and consume 2-3 servings daily of these high antioxidant foods for optimal health.
Also, along with food, herbs and essential oils of plants are extremely high in antioxidants. Here is another list of the herbs and essential oils highest in antioxidants.
Top 10 Antioxidant Herbs List
314,446 ORAC Score
267,537 ORAC Score
159,277 ORAC Score
102,700 ORAC Score
80,933 ORAC Score
76,800 ORAC Score
7) Parsley (dried)
74,349 ORAC Score
67,553 ORAC Score
28,811 ORAC Score
27,426 ORAC Score
Other antioxidant rich herbs include garlic, cayenne pepper and green tea. Try and consume 2-3 servings of these herbs daily.
Top Health Benefits of Antioxidant Foods
Antioxidants For Eyes
The antioxidants vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta carotene have been shown to have an effect on preventing macular degeneration, or age-related blindness. Lutein and zeaxanthin found in spinach have also been proven to decrease eye related degeneration.
Flavonoid antioxidants found in bilberries and resveratrol found in grape skins have been shown to be especially beneficial at supporting vision.
Antioxidant Benefits For Skin Health
Free radicals formed by oxidative damage speed up the aging process, but antioxidants may help combat this damage. High intakes of vitamin C, beta carotene, and other antioxidants have been connected to a decrease in the appearance of wrinkles and skin dryness.
Vitamin C, specifically, is a powerful antioxidant which can help reduce the effect of oxidative damage caused by pollution, stress, or poor diet.
Stroke and Heart Disease
Since antioxidants help prevent against free radical damage, they may also protect against heart disease and stroke. At this point, the data does not show that all antioxidants are effective to protect against heart disease, but some, such as vitamin C may be.
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition featured a study that found those with high levels of vitamin C in their blood had almost a 50% decreased risk of stroke.