Antioxidants are compounds that can be found both in food and in the human body. They help protect cells from damage caused by potentially harmful molecules known as free radicals.
When free radicals accumulate, they can cause a condition known as oxidative stress. This can damage DNA and other important structures in the cells of the human body. Unfortunately, permanent oxidative stress can increase the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer. Fortunately, eating antioxidant-rich foods can increase blood levels of antioxidants to fight oxidative stress and reduce the risk of these diseases.
Scientists use several tests to measure the antioxidant content of food. One of the best tests is FRAP analysis (ferric reducing antioxidant power). It measures the amount of antioxidants in foods, how well they can neutralize a certain free radical. The higher the FRAP value, the more antioxidants are in food.
So, in the article we will talk about which products contain antioxidants.
Top 12 Antioxidant Products
Listed below are 12 of the best foods with the highest amount of antioxidants, starting from the largest.
1. Dark Chocolate
Good news for the sweet tooth. Dark chocolate is one of the most delicious foods that contains antioxidants. It contains more cocoa than regular chocolate, as well as more minerals and antioxidants.
Based on FRAP analysis, dark chocolate has up to 15 mmol of antioxidants for every 100 g. This is even more than in blueberries and raspberries, which contain up to 9.2 and 2.3 mmol of antioxidants in the same portion, respectively.
In addition, the antioxidants in cocoa and dark chocolate have impressive health benefits, such as reduced inflammation and reduced risk factors for heart disease.
A review of 10 studies examined the relationship between cocoa consumption and blood pressure in both healthy people and people with high blood pressure. Consuming cocoa-rich foods, such as dark chocolate, reduced systolic blood pressure (upper value) by an average of 4.5 mmHg. Art. and diastolic blood pressure (lower value) by an average of 2.5 mm Hg ( 1 ).
Another study found that dark chocolate can reduce the risk of heart disease by increasing blood antioxidants and the level of “good” cholesterol – high density lipoproteins (HDL) and preventing the oxidation of “bad” cholesterol – low density lipoproteins (LDL) ( 2 ).
Oxidized LDL cholesterol is harmful because it contributes to inflammation in the blood vessels, which can lead to an increased risk of heart disease.
Dark chocolate is a delicious and nutritious product, one of the best sources of antioxidants. The higher the cocoa content, the more antioxidants chocolate contains.
Pecan is a type of nut that was originally distributed in Mexico and South America. Pecans are a good source of healthy fats and minerals, and also contain large amounts of antioxidants.
Based on FRAP analysis , pecans contain up to 10.6 mmol of antioxidants for every 100 g.
In addition, pecans can help increase antioxidant levels in the blood.
One study found that people who consumed 20% of their daily calories from pecans significantly increased their antioxidant levels in their blood ( 3 ).
In another study, people who consumed pecans experienced a decrease of 26% -33% in LDL levels in oxidized blood for two to eight hours. High levels of oxidized LDL cholesterol in the blood are a risk factor for heart disease ( 4 ).
Although pecans are an excellent source of healthy fats, they are also high in calories. Therefore, it is important to eat pecans in moderation to avoid getting too many calories.
Pecans are popular nuts rich in minerals, healthy fats and antioxidants. They can also help raise blood antioxidants and lower bad cholesterol.
What foods contain antioxidants, if not berries. Although there are few calories in blueberries, this berry is abundant in nutrients and antioxidants. According to FRAP analysis, blueberries have up to 9.2 mmol of antioxidants per 100 g.
Blueberries, the benefits and harms of which have been extensively studied, contain the largest amount of antioxidants among all fruits and vegetables consumed. This has been proven in several studies ( 5 , 6 ).
In addition, in vitro and animal studies have shown that antioxidants in blueberries can slow down the decay of brain functions, which usually occurs with age ( 7 ). Antioxidants neutralize harmful free radicals, reducing inflammation and altering the expression of certain genes.
In addition, it has been proven that antioxidants in blueberries, especially the type called anthocyanins, reduce the risk factors for heart disease, lower LDL cholesterol and blood pressure ( 8 ).
Blueberries are among the best sources of antioxidants among all foods. It is rich in anthocyanins and other antioxidants that can help reduce the risk of heart disease and slow down the decline in brain function that occurs with age.
Strawberries are one of the most popular berries on the planet. It has a sweet taste, and is a rich source of vitamin C and antioxidants. Based on FRAP analysis, strawberries provide up to 5.4 mmol of antioxidants for every 100 g.
In addition, strawberries contain an antioxidant such as anthocyanins, which gives the berry a red color. Strawberries with a higher anthocyanin content have a brighter red color. Studies have shown that anthocyanins can help reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering the level of “bad” LDL cholesterol and increasing “good” HDL cholesterol ( 9 , 10 ).
In a review of 10 studies, it was found that taking anthocyanins as a dietary supplement significantly reduces LDL cholesterol among people with heart failure or with high LDL levels ( 11 ).
Like other berries, strawberries are rich in antioxidants called anthocyanins, which can help reduce the risk of heart disease.
Artichokes are a delicious and nutritious vegetable, not very common in the diet of Russians.
Artichokes have a long history – people in ancient times used their leaves as a treatment for liver diseases such as jaundice. Artichokes are an excellent source of dietary fiber, minerals, and antioxidants. Based on FRAP analysis, artichokes contain up to 4.7 mmol of antioxidants for every 100 g.
Artichokes are especially rich in antioxidant known as chlorogenic acid. Studies show that the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of chlorogenic acid can reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancer, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease ( 12 , 13 ).
The content of antioxidants in the artichoke may vary depending on how they are prepared. Cooked artichokes can increase the antioxidant content by 8 times, and steamed artichokes by 15 times. On the other hand, frying artichokes can reduce their antioxidant content.
Artichokes are vegetables that contain one of the highest levels of antioxidants, especially chlorogenic acid. Their contents may vary depending on how the artichokes are prepared.
6. Goji Berries
Goji berries are the dried fruits of two plants: Lycium barbarum and Lycium chinense. They have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for over 2000 years. Goji berries are often sold as superfoods or superfoods because they are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Based on FRAP analysis, goji berries contain 4.3 mmol of antioxidants for every 100 g.
Goji berries contain unique antioxidants known as Lycium barbarum polysaccharides. They can reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer and can help fight skin aging.
Goji berries can also be very effective in raising blood levels of antioxidants. In one study, healthy elderly people consumed a milkshake with goji berries daily for 90 days. By the end of the study, their antioxidant levels in the blood increased by 57% ( 14 ).
Due to their unique nutritional properties and exotic nature, goji berries are often expensive to consume on a regular basis.
Goji berries are a rich source of antioxidants, including a unique type known as Lycium barbarum polysaccharides. They are associated with a reduced risk of heart disease and cancer and can help fight skin aging.
Raspberries are soft tart berries that are often used to make desserts. They are an excellent source of dietary fiber, vitamin C, manganese and antioxidants. Based on the FRAP analysis, raspberries have up to 4 mmol of antioxidants for every 100 grams.
Several studies have studied antioxidants and other components of raspberries to reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease. In one in vitro experiment, it was found that antioxidants and other components in raspberries kill 90% of cancer cells in the stomach, large intestine, and mammary gland ( 15 ). A review of five studies concluded that the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of black raspberries can slow down and suppress the effects of various types of cancer ( 16 ).
Moreover, antioxidants in raspberries, especially anthocyanins, can reduce inflammation and oxidative stress. This can reduce the risk of heart disease.
However, much of the evidence for raspberry health benefits is limited to in vitro studies. Before making recommendations, more research involving humans is needed. However, now you know which foods contain the most antioxidants. These are undoubtedly berries.
Raspberries are nutritious, tasty and full of antioxidants. Like blueberries, it is rich in anthocyanins and has an anti-inflammatory effect in the body.
8. Cabbage “Kale” (curly cabbage, gruenkol)
Kale is a cruciferous vegetable. Other species in this family include broccoli and cauliflower.
Kale cabbage is one of the most nutritious green leafy vegetables on the planet. It is rich in vitamins A, K and C. It is also rich in antioxidants, providing up to 2.7 mmol per 100 g. Red cabbage can contain almost twice as much – up to 4.1 mmol of antioxidants per 100 g. This is due to the fact that red varieties of cabbage contain more anthocyanins, as well as several other antioxidants that give them a bright color.
Kale cabbage is an excellent source of calcium from plant sources, an important mineral that helps maintain healthy bones and plays a role in other cellular functions.
Kale is one of the most nutritious green leafy vegetables in the world, in part because it is rich in antioxidants. Although ordinary cabbage contains a lot of antioxidants, red varieties can contain almost twice as much.
9. Red cabbage
Red cabbage has an impressive nutrient profile. Also known as purple cabbage, it is rich in vitamins C, K and A and is high in antioxidants. According to FRAP analysis, red cabbage contains up to 2.2 mmol of antioxidants for every 100 g. This is more than four times more antioxidants than regular boiled cabbage.
This is due to the fact that red cabbage contains anthocyanins, a group of antioxidants that give red cabbage its color. Anthocyanins are also found in strawberries and raspberries. Anthocyanins are very beneficial for human health. They can reduce inflammation, protect against heart disease, and reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancer.
Red cabbage is a rich source of vitamin C, which acts as an antioxidant in the body. Vitamin C can help strengthen your immune system and keep your skin supple.
Interestingly, the method of cooking red cabbage can also affect its antioxidant levels. Boiled and fried red cabbage can increase its antioxidant profile, while steamed red cabbage can reduce the antioxidant content by almost 35%.
Red cabbage is a delicious product that contains many antioxidants. Its red color is due to its high content of anthocyanins, a group of antioxidants that have some impressive health benefits.
Legumes are a group of plants whose fruits are extremely healthy and readily available for inclusion in your diet. They contain a large amount of vegetable protein and fiber, which improves intestinal motility.
Beans are also one of the best plant sources of antioxidants. FRAP analysis showed that green beans contain up to 2 mmol of antioxidants for every 100 grams.
In addition, some beans, such as pinto beans, contain a specific antioxidant called kempferol. This is able to positively affect health, namely to reduce chronic inflammation and inhibit the growth of cancer cells. Several animal studies have found that kempferol can inhibit the growth of cancer in the chest, bladder, kidneys and lungs ( 17 , 18 ).
However, since most of the studies supporting the benefits of campferol have been done on animals or in vitro, more studies involving humans are needed.
Beans are an inexpensive way to increase your antioxidant intake. They also contain kempferol antioxidant, which has antitumor effects.
Beets are a useful root crop. It has a mild flavor and is an excellent source of fiber, potassium, iron, folic acid and antioxidants. Based on FRAP analysis, beets contain up to 1.7 mmol of antioxidants for every 100 g.
Beets are especially rich in a group of antioxidants called betalans. They give beets its reddish color and are very useful for the human body. Several in vitro studies have linked betalin to a lower risk of developing colon cancer ( 19 , 20 ).
In addition, the beneficial properties of beets for the body are not limited to the presence of antioxidants. Beets contain other compounds that can help suppress inflammation. There is a study that found that taking betalain capsules from beetroot extract significantly relieves pain and inflammation of osteoarthritis ( 21 ).
Beets are an excellent source of fiber, potassium, iron, folic acid and antioxidants. Beets contain a group of antioxidants called betalains, which are thought to provide impressive health benefits.
Spinach is one of the most nutritious vegetables. It is filled with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants and an incredibly low calorie content. Based on FRAP analysis, spinach provides up to 0.9 mmol of antioxidants for every 100 g.
The health benefits and harms of spinach have been studied extensively. Spinach is also an excellent source of lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants that can protect the eyes from damage from ultraviolet light and other harmful light wavelengths. These antioxidants help fight eye damage that free radicals can cause over time.
Spinach is rich in nutrients, high in antioxidants and low in calories. It is also one of the best sources of lutein and zeaxanthin, which protect the eyes from free radicals.
Antioxidants are compounds that the human body can make on its own to protect cells and tissues from oxidation. But antioxidants are also available in food. In the article, we studied which products contain antioxidants and exactly how many antioxidants contain the top 12 foods for this indicator.
- Antioxidants protect the body from potentially dangerous molecules known as free radicals, which can build up and stimulate oxidative stress. Unfortunately, oxidative stress increases the risk of heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes and many other chronic diseases.
- Fortunately, eating foods that contain antioxidants can help neutralize free radicals and reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases.
- By eating the large amount of foods mentioned in this article, you can increase your antioxidant levels in your blood and get many health benefits.