Antioxidant Rich Foods List
Many of us go about our daily lives without much thought to the food we consume. The basic education that we are given is usually a food pyramid or food plate suggestion with how many servings a person should have of each category. I was the person that grew up asking why. I decided 3 years ago to enroll in college for nutrition and alternative medicine. This is where I learned the why, how, when and what matters when it comes to our food. If you read my other post on antioxidants, you know now what they do for us. I will also give the ORAC value of each food. The ORAC value is the Oxygen Radical Obsorbance Capacity, it measures how much antioxidant is in a food. Now it’s time for the antioxidant rich foods list.
Don’t let the size fool you, they are powerful little berries. There are 30 different species across the regions of North America and Europe. The compounds of the berry that gives it the color are the flavonoids and anthocyanidins. Anthocyanidins are the primary antioxidant and blueberries are at the top of the list with an ORAC value of 4669. If you are fortunate enough to find or grow wild blueberries, they have an ORAC value of 9621, that is almost double. Blueberries provides Vitamin C, Vitamin E, soluble fiber, insoluble fiber, manganese and riboflavin.
Sweet or Sour Cherries
Cherries were a delicacy once upon a time. Cherries were brought to America in the 1600’s. Sour cherries will have fewer calories than the sweet cherries naturally. The beautiful deep red color comes from the flavonoids, anthocyanidins and proanthocyanidins. These are also responsible for its antioxidant properties. Cherries will also help block the signal pain and reduce inflammation. Cherries have an ORAC value of 3747.
Grapes have to be my daughters favorite. As we all know, grapes are used in wine making and has been around since 5000 B.C.E. Grapes are a great sources of Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, manganese, potassium, thiamine and riboflavin. The flavonoids give grapes their color and make them a perfect antioxidant. Have you ever seen anit-wrinkle skin creams with Resveratol? Antioxidants reduce the oxidative stress in our cells allowing them to be healthy. Healthy skin has a certain natural glow or look and this comes from our diet, exercise and spiritual practice. Resveratol comes from the flesh of the grape, this antioxidant may help reduce plaque in arteries and reduce the risk of certain cancers. Red grapes have an ORAC value of 1837, black grapes have an ORAC value of 1746, and white or green grapes have an ORAC value of 1018.
I discovered how delicious kiwifruits are when I was 30 and was on a kick of going to the gym, I needed alternatives to my traditional snacks. These fuzzy little guys are native to China but are more recently grown in the United States, New Zealand, Italy, Japan, France, Greece, Spain, Australia and Chile. Kiwifruit provides Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin A, dietary fiber, potassium, magnesium, copper, and phosphorous. Vitamins A and E are antioxidants. These fruits are well-known in Italy to promote respiratory health. The ORAC value is 862.
Limes are excluded from the list due to the low ORAC value of 82. Lemons, oranges and grapefruit are good sources of antioxidants from the vitamins they provide. Lemon have Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin B1, Vitamin P, potassium, magnesium and folic acid. Oranges have Vitamin C, dietary fiber, Vitamin B, B1, B2, B6, folic acid, pantothenic acid, carotene, pectin, and potassium. Grapefruits have flavonoids, water soluble fibers, Vitamin C, folic acid, phytochemicals, liminoids, lycopene and glucarates. Personally I love juicing oranges because it doesn’t contain the sting you get in a store bought orange juice. Lemons have an ORAC value of 1346, oranges 2103 and grapefruits in red, white and pink have a value of 1640.
Olives are an old time favorite of mine. I remember my mother having a tray of olives, cheese, pepperoni and crackers out on the table for holidays when family came to visit. Of course I didn’t understand the health benefits back then but I do know and I still love them. In recent years I have discovered garlic stuffed olive, I am so addicted to these. Most people know olives to be the producer of healthy fats and this is very true but they also provide oleic acid, Vitamin E, oleuroprein and flavonoids. This is an unexpected source of antioxidants for us with an ORAC value of 3130. Olive oil is excellent to cook with and use in beauty products but the value does go down to 372.
An Apple A Day
An apple a day will keep the doctor away thanks to the Vitamin C, pectin, potassium, flavonoids, ellagic acid and fibers. I live in the country surrounded by apple orchards. I personally prefer Red Delicious apples for a snack or juiced. The fiber provides you GI tract motivation when constipated. The antioxidants prove positive against asthma and heart disease and reduces the risk of cancer and type 2 diabetes. There are more than 25 kinds of apples in the U.S. The ORAC value of a Red Delicious with skin on is 4275, Granny Smith is 3898, Gala is 2828 and the Golden is 2670 to name a few.
A Sweet Treat That Heals
Many overlooked this particular item because it’s sugar so it must be bad for you. Raw honey is one of the best things that you can have for your body, this does not come in a little bear at Walmart. Raw honey is unprocessed, unclarified and unfiltered therefore it retains its phytochemicals that are normally destroyed by standard processing. Honey is a rich source of phenolic compounds such as flavonoids and we have seen that flavonoids produces great antioxidant activity in the body. Honey will give you energy, heal your wounds, and prove the blood antioxidant levels, fights cancer and makes excellent candles. ORAC value is 130, so compared to the above foods, it’s low but every bit helps fight oxidative stress.
Please do not give honey to your baby, if your child is 12 months and younger they should not be fed honey. Honey can contain spores of clostridium botulinum and this is the causative agent of botulism and infection in infants. Their digestive system is not mature enough to handle this.
Hopefully this has given you a good start down the road of healthier eating. It is true what was said hundreds of years ago, Let food be thy medicine.
Please leave a comment below for questions, suggestions or share your story with us. Thank you for reading.
The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods by Michael Murray and Joseph Pizzorno with Lara Pizzorno