The reading level for this article is All Levels
What are antioxidants exactly? They are “substances that may protect cells from the damage caused by unstable molecules known as free radicals. Free radical damage may lead to cancer. Antioxidants interact with and stabilize free radicals and may prevent some of the damage free radicals otherwise might cause.” This definition is from Cancer.gov.
Free radicals are created from exposure to various environmental factors, including but not limited to tobacco smoke and radiation. “Antioxidants are often described as ‘mopping up’ free radicals, meaning they neutralize the electrical charge and prevent the free radical from taking electrons from other molecules.” (Cancer.gov)
The good news is that antioxidants are abundant in fruits, vegetables, nuts, and grains. When thinking about increasing foods rich in antioxidants, diversity is key. There are different types of antioxidants, each with their own unique role, so be sure to include a variety of antioxidant-rich foods in your diet.
Here’s a list of different types of antioxidants and the foods that are rich in that particular type:
- Beta-carotene: sweet potatoes, carrots, cantaloupe, squash, apricots, pumpkin, and mangos. Some green leafy vegetables including collard greens, spinach, and kale.
- Lutein: green, leafy vegetables such as collard greens, spinach, and kale.
- Lycopene: tomatoes, watermelon, guava, papaya, apricots, pink grapefruit, and blood oranges.
- Selenium: rice, wheat, and brazil nuts (Technically, selenium is a mineral which is a component of antioxidant enzymes.)
- Vitamin A: liver, sweet potatoes, carrots, milk, egg yolks and mozzarella cheese.
- Vitamin C: fruits and vegetables and is also found in cereals, beef, poultry and fish.
- Vitamin E: almonds, mangos, nuts, and broccoli.
Which foods are highest in antioxidants? All of the foods listed above are wonderful sources of antioxidants, but here’s a list of the top 20 food sources of antioxidants, based on their total antioxidant capacity per serving size:
Total antioxidant capacity per serving size
Small Red Bean (dried)
Red kidney bean (dried)
1 cup (whole)
1 cup (hearts)
Red Delicious apple
Granny Smith apple
Russet potato (cooked)
Black bean (dried)
Women: are you sick and tired of feeling unhealthy and down on yourself?
If you are ready to make lasting lifestyle changes for yourself and your family, stop your war with food, and get healthy, Amy Lippmann, Certified Holistic Health Counselor, can help.
Sample Amy’s work by listening to a F*REE AUDIO, “Finally, How to Get Healthy Meals on the Table, In No Time.” You will also receive a complete transcript, pantry essentials list, her mix-and-match meal planning chart, healthy recipes, and much more. Grab your copy now at http://www.wellnesshealthcoaching.com and start feeling better about your health and fitness.
© 2008 Amy Lippmann, LLC. All Rights Reserved.