Antioxidants are powerful compounds that protect against oxidation in the body. And the health benefits of antioxidant foods are nearly endless. Fortunately, they can be found in many different foods, herbs, and supplements. By fighting free-radical damage, antioxidant foods can help reduce signs of aging, prevent cognitive decline, and protect the body from disease. In addition to antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables, antioxidant herbs and antioxidant supplements in your diet can help strengthen your immune system, fight inflammation, and boost your overall health! (1)
Top 10 Antioxidant Foods
1. Goji berries: Goji berries provide the body with powerful antioxidants and amino acids that help detoxify the liver, stabilize blood sugar, protect eye health, and fight cancer. And goji berries taste great with cacao!
2. Wild blueberries: Blueberries are packed with antioxidants that help protect the heart from disease, prevent age-related memory loss, and reduce the risk of cancer. They also happen to be delicious!
3. Dark chocolate: The flavonols in dark chocolate can help naturally lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of diabetes. Try to source raw cacao, or find chocolate with at least 70% cocoa.
4. Pecans: A handful of pecans each day can help lower cholesterol levels and boost skin health. And they make a great afternoon snack.
5. Artichoke: The antioxidants in artichoke hearts help improve heart health and boost liver health. Try adding some to your salad today.
6. Elderberries: The bioflavonoids in elderberries boost skin health by fighting wrinkles, healing age spots, and keeping the skin hydrated. They also help protect against colds.
7. Kidney beans: The antioxidants in kidney beans help lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. As a bonus, kidney beans are high in dietary fiber.
8. Cranberries: Cranberries contain unique antioxidants, called proanthocyanidins. They keep E. coli and other harmful bacteria from sticking to the walls of the bladder, which can help prevent UTI’s.
9. Blackberries: The powerful antioxidants in blackberries can help fight cognitive decline related to aging. And they taste great in smoothies or on oatmeal!
10. Cilantro: Cilantro contains quercetin, which has powerful anti-inflammatory properties. In fact, the antioxidants in cilantro help fight oxidative stress that can cause cancer, heart disease, arthritis, and other health issues.
Top 10 Antioxidant Herbs
1. Clove: The antioxidants in clove offer powerful anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce pain and boost the immune system.
2. Cinnamon: Cinnamon ranks #1 compared to other herbs and spices as having the highest antioxidant levels. The antioxidants in cinnamon help slow aging and fight disease.
3. Oregano: Oregano contains rosmarinic acid and thymol, powerful antioxidant compounds that help fight oxidative stress in the body.
4. Turmeric: The antioxidants in turmeric have the ability to neutralize free radicals to protect the body from cancer, heart disease and other serious health conditions.
5. Cacao: Cacao exhibits higher antioxidant activity than green tea and red wine. It contains beneficial phenolic phytochemicals and flavonoids that help protect the body from disease.
6. Cumin: Research has shown that the antioxidants in cumin have anti-carcinogenic properties that are especially helpful for preventing colon cancer.
7. Parsley: The antioxidants in parsley, including Vitamin A and Vitamin C, boost immunity by increasing the effect of white blood cells.
8. Basil: Research has shown that the antioxidants in basil can help prevent certain types of cancer, including cancer of the skin, liver and lungs.
9. Ginger: The antioxidants in ginger have powerful anti-inflammatory properties that help relieve pain linked to inflammatory conditions like arthritis.
10. Thyme: Thyme has one of the highest antioxidant concentrations of any herb. The antioxidants in thyme help protect the heart, eyes and skin.
Top 10 Antioxidant Supplements
Glutathione is the most important antioxidant in the body. It plays a role in the creation of enzymes, the detoxification process, fat digestion and even the destruction of cancer cells.
Quercetin, found in berries, leafy greens and other fruits and vegetables, has powerful anti-inflammatory properties. It can help reduce the risk of heart disease, fight chronic fatigue and manage arthritis symptoms.
Lutein is known for its ability to protect the eyes from age-related damage, like macular degeneration. Diets high in lutein have also been linked to reduced rates of breast, colon, cervical and lung cancers.
4. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that give the immune system a natural boost. It helps fight off infections to protect the body from colds, the flu and even cancer.
Resveratrol can be found in cacao beans, blueberries and red grapes. It’s a polyphonic bioflavonoid antioxidant that works to improve cardiovascular health and protect the body from disease.
Astaxanthin can found in salmon, lobster and krill, but its best form is found in some types of algae. It promotes healthy skin, boosts energy levels, supports joint health, lowers inflammation and protects the eyes from damage.
Selenium plays an important role in the health of the adrenal and thyroid glands. It can also help protect the heart from disease, improve cognition and reduce symptoms caused by asthma.
Chlorophyll can be found in green veggies, like spriulina and blue-green algae. It supports the body’s detoxification process by helping to remove harmful toxins that can cause disease.
9. Frankincense Essential Oil
Frankincense essential oil can be used topically to promote healing. Research has shown that frankincense oil can help regulate cellular function and may even help treat cancer.
10. Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender essential oil can be used in aromatherapy for its antioxidant benefits. The oil lowers inflammation and helps the body produce antioxidant enzymes that strengthen the immune system and fight infection.
Health Benefits of Antioxidant Foods
1. Reduce Free Radical Damage
Unfortunately, free radical damage can contribute to many health problems, including heart disease and cancer. But fortunately, antioxidant foods are known for their ability to fight free radicals in the body.
The body uses antioxidants to protect itself from damage. In fact, the health benefits of antioxidant foods include the ability to stop free radicals from damaging DNA, cellular membranes, and enzymes.
2. Protect Vision
Antioxidants that help protect the eyes from damage include Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and beta-carotene. Lutein and zeaxanthin, found in brightly-colored fruits and vegetables, also promote healthy vision. But you can also add antioxidant supplements to boost your daily intake of these nutrients.
These antioxidants help protect the eyes from age-related vision loss and macular degeneration. Therefore, focus on foods that contain lutein and other carotenoids, including spinach, kale, berries, and broccoli.
3. Reduce Aging Effects on Skin
Health benefits of antioxidant foods include the ability to slow aging. Research has shown that Vitamin A and Vitamin C can help reduce the appearance of wrinkles and keep the skin hydrated. In addition, Vitamin C also helps protect the skin from oxidative damage caused by stress, pollution, or a poor diet. (2)
4. Help Prevent Stroke and Heart Disease
Furthermore, by protecting the body from free radical damage, antioxidant foods can help prevent stroke and heart disease.
In a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers found that people with high levels of Vitamin C in their blood had about a 42% decreased risk of suffering from a stroke. (3)
5. Help Reduce Cancer Risk
Research has shown that antioxidants can help reduce the risk of cancer by inducing cancer cell death. At times, antioxidant foods protect against cancer cells in the early stages. But also consult your healthcare practitioner if you are currently being treated for cancer. Another antioxidant, vitamin A, contains a compound called retinoic acid, which plays an important role in cell development. Research has shown that retinoic acid can help suppress lung, prostate, breast, ovarian, bladder, oral, and skin cancers. (4, 5)
6. Help Prevent Cognitive Decline
Health benefits of antioxidant foods include the ability to help protect the brain from cognitive decline. Antioxidant herbs pack a nutrient-dense punch, as well, when supporting brain health.
Studies have shown that a high intake of antioxidant foods can help reduce the long-term risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s. Research has also shown that plant-based diets high in antioxidants, like the Mediterranean diet, can help protect brain health. (6)