12 Healthy Foods High in Antioxidants

Antioxidants are compounds produced in your body and found in foods. They can prevent or slow damage to cells caused by free radicals, unstable molecules that the body produces as a reaction to environmental and other pressures.

When free radicals accumulate, they may cause a state known as oxidative stress. This may damage your DNA and other important structures in your cells. Certain plant-based foods are thought to be rich in antioxidants. Plant-based antioxidants are a kind of phytonutrient, or plant-based nutrient. Antioxidants are said to help neutralize free radicals in our bodies, and this is thought to boost overall health. The following healthy foods are recommended if you want to boost your antioxidant levels:

Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate on the wooden table, selective focus

Dark chocolate is delicious, nutritious and one of the best sources of antioxidants. Usually, the higher the cocoa content, the more antioxidants the chocolate contains. Lucky for chocolate lovers, dark chocolate is nutritious. It has more cocoa than regular chocolate, as well as more minerals and antioxidants. Moreover, the antioxidants in cocoa and dark chocolate have been linked to impressive health benefits such as less inflammation and reduced risk factors for heart disease.

Pecans

Pecans are a type of nut native to Mexico and South America. They are popular nuts rich in minerals, healthy fats and antioxidants. They may also help raise blood antioxidant levels and lower bad cholesterol. They are a good source of healthy fats and minerals, plus contain a high amount of antioxidants. Although pecans are a great source of healthy fats, they are also high in calories. So it’s important to eat pecans in moderation to avoid consuming too many calories.

Purple or red grapes

Purple and red grape varieties contain vitamin C, selenium, and antioxidants. Two of the antioxidants that occur in grapes, namely anthocyanin and proanthocyanin, may help protect from heart disease or cancer.

Spinach

Background with green antioxidant organic vegetables, fruits and herbs and bottle of fresh smoothie. With copy space.

Spinach is a green, leafy vegetable full of vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber and antioxidants. It is low in calories, making it an excellent choice as an addition to salads and entrees. Zeaxanthin and lutein are two of the antioxidants in spinach that may promote eye health.

Beets

Beets are vegetables that contain antioxidants belonging to a class of pigments called betalains. Beets are also a source of dietary fiber, iron, folate, and potassium. These substances may help with suppressing inflammation.

Kale

Kale is rich in vitamins A, C, and K, and it contains several antioxidants. It is a popular health food and hardy winter vegetable, common in many northern regions. Red kale is said to have more health benefits than green kale because it contains anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are antioxidants that are readily available in a variety of fruits and vegetables. They are responsible for the color of these foods, from vibrant red to blue.

Blueberries

Blueberries are among the best sources of antioxidants in the diet. They are rich in anthocyanins and other antioxidants that may help reduce the risk of heart disease and delay the decline in brain function that happens with age.

Although they are low in calories, blueberries are packed with nutrients and antioxidants. Several studies even suggest that blueberries contain the highest amount of antioxidants among all commonly consumed fruits and vegetables. Additionally, the antioxidants in blueberries, especially a type called anthocyanins, have been shown to reduce risk factors for heart disease, lowering LDL cholesterol levels and blood pressure.

Strawberries

Like other berries, strawberries are rich in antioxidants called anthocyanins, which may help reduce the risk of heart disease. Strawberries are among the most popular berries on the planet. They are sweet, versatile and a rich source of vitamin C and antioxidants.

Artichokes

Artichokes are a delicious and nutritious vegetable that are a rich source of dietary fiber, minerals and antioxidants. The antioxidant content of artichokes can vary, depending on how they are prepared. Boiling artichokes may raise their antioxidant content by eight times, and steaming them may raise it by 15 times. On the other hand, frying artichokes may reduce their antioxidant content. Artichokes provide lots of nutrients and antioxidants. Research suggests that they may help lower people’s cholesterol levels and improve their gut health. Research has also noted that artichoke consumption can be good for gut, liver, and heart health.

Goji Berries

Goji berries are the dried fruits of two related plants, Lycium barbarum and Lycium chinense. They have been a part of traditional Chinese medicine for more than 2,000 years. Goji berries are often marketed as a super food because they are rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. They have also been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease and cancer, and may help fight skin aging.

Red cabbage

Red cabbage contains many nutrients, including vitamins A, C, and K plus several antioxidants. Red cabbage, like strawberries and red kale, contains anthocyanins. In addition to giving the vegetable its red color, this group of antioxidants helps promote heart health, prevent cancer, and reduce inflammation.

Beans

Beans are an excellent source of protein and dietary fiber. Some beans, such as pinto beans, are also high in antioxidants. Research has shown that pinto beans could help in suppressing certain types of cancer.

Raspberries

Heap of fresh healthy raspberries as delicious dessert
Heap of fresh healthy raspberries as delicious dessert containing minerals, antioxidants and vitamins

Raspberries are an excellent source of many antioxidants. They also contain manganese, vitamin C, and dietary fiber. Evidence suggests that the antioxidants present in raspberries may help destroy certain cancer cells. A more recent review of studies showed that the compounds in black raspberries might slow the progression of cancerous tumors.

Orange vegetables

Several orange vegetables contain vitamin A and other nutrients. These vegetables contain large amounts of phytochemicals that can help with heart disease and cancer prevention. Some examples of orange vegetables with high antioxidant levels include: sweet potatoes, carrots, acorn squash and butternut squash.

In Summary

A number of foods are commonly consumed to increase the levels of antioxidants that we consume. The antioxidants in these foods may help promote heart and eye health, prevent cancer, and protect against other common diseases that scientists associate with harmful free radicals.

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