Antioxidants are man-made or natural substances that defend your cells, proteins, and DNA from damage caused by potentially harmful molecules known as free radicals or (oxidative stress).
Antioxidants compounds protect your body from this constant attack from oxidative stress. These compounds are produced in your body and found in foods, including fruits and vegetables.
Therefore, eating a diet rich in antioxidants can help increase your blood antioxidant levels to fight oxidative stress and reduce the risk of chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. They are also available as dietary supplements. Examples include Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and Vitamin E.
Vegetables and fruits are rich sources of antioxidants. There is good evidence that eating a diet with lots of vegetables and fruits is healthy and lowers the risks of these diseases.
The following is a list of top 10 healthy foods that are high in antioxidants:
10. Dark Chocolate
It may be hard to believe, but that tasty dark chocolate you eat and love may also help you ward off cancer and improve your heart health. Dark chocolate is loaded with organic compounds that are biologically active and function as antioxidants. These include polyphenols and flavonoids, among others.
Dark chocolate’s cocoa has actually been shown to have the highest content of polyphenols and flavonoids. Therefore, the higher the cacao/cocoa percentage of your next dark chocolate bar, the more awesome antioxidants you’ll consume.
9. Pecans Nuts
These tasty nuts make for a popular pie filling, but they’re also a top source of antioxidants and may lower cholesterol. Pecans are rich in vitamin E, which helps prevent cell damage and may enhance the body’s immune processes. You can also enjoy almonds, hazelnuts, and walnuts as an antioxidant-rich alternative to pecans.
8. Blueberries and Strawberries
Blueberries and Strawberries are especially high in antioxidants and according to one study, both of these berries are a good source of natural antioxidants. They contain many specific types of antioxidants, including phenols, flavonoids, and anthocyanins, with the highest concentration found in wild blueberries.
Artichokes are a delicious and nutritious vegetable, a nutrient powerhouse and a great source of dietary fiber, minerals, and antioxidants. In fact, Artichokes have the highest antioxidant levels out of all vegetables in term of the antioxidant count, according to research conducted by the US Department of Agriculture in 2006.
6. Goji Berries
Goji berries are low in calories, fat-free, and a good source of fiber. They are also high-antioxidant food and have the ability to help you fight diseases and many other health benefits.
According to one clinical study, goji berry (juice) benefits include experiencing “increased ratings for energy level, athletic performance, quality of sleep, ease of awakening, ability to focus on activities, mental acuity, calmness, and feelings of health, contentment, and happiness”.
Similar to Blueberries and Strawberries, Raspberries also contain powerful antioxidants that work against free radicals. In fact, some researchers believe raspberries hold a number of other health benefits that include decreasing the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and overall mortality.
The high polyphenol content in raspberries reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and may ward off or slow many types of cancer. Raspberries are also a high fiber-food and for diabetes patients, it helps by keeping blood sugar level stable.
4. Red Cabbage
Red cabbage is a high-antioxidant food that contains vitamin C, a crucial antioxidant needed in order for our bodies to have strong immune systems.
Due in large part to its vitamin C content, red cabbage, help fight free radical damage and strengthens the immune system, and overall health. Vitamin C is essential to our bodies as it helps repair wounds and injuries as well as keeping bones, cartilage, and teeth strong and healthy.
3. Red Beans, Oregano, Cinnamon and Ground Cloves
Researchers found that small red beans contain more disease-fighting antioxidants than both wild and cultivated blueberries, which have been heralded in recent years for their high antioxidant content. In fact, three of the top five antioxidant-rich foods studied were beans.
The study also shows that nuts and spices, such as ground cloves, cinnamon, and oregano, are rich in antioxidants, although they are generally consumed in much smaller amounts than fruits and vegetables.
2. Red Beets
Red beets are a rich source of dietary fiber, potassium, manganese, and folate. They are also rich in Vitamin C, zinc, copper, and iron and contain polyphenols and betalains, which are natural antioxidants.
Red beets are loaded with vitamins and minerals and low in calories and fat. They also contain inorganic nitrates and pigments, both of which have a number of tremendous health benefits, keeping blood pressure in check, help fight inflammation and improve digestive and brain health.
Researchers found that Increased consumption of fresh vegetables, especially spinach, that are high in polyphenols has been associated with a reduced risk of oxidative stress-induced disease. They concluded that the antioxidant effects of spinach exceeded any other fresh vegetable and provide an effective way to ameliorate high fat and cholesterol diet-induced oxidative stress.
Spinach is considered to be one of the healthiest foods on earth, with researchers identifying more than a dozen different types of flavonoid antioxidants alone that are present in spinach. It is an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin A, folate, manganese, and magnesium.
It is also a rich source of fiber, potassium, vitamin C and vitamin B6. Among numerous other health benefits, spinach is also a high source of magnesium. Magnesium is a vital nutrient within the body that contributes to overall cellular health and plays a part in more than 300 different bodily functions.
Its deficiency may lead to insomnia, mood disturbances, headaches, high blood pressure, and an increased risk for diabetes, therefore it is essential to include this nutrient-rich and powerful antioxidant plant food in your diet more often.