Anti-oxidants – have you heard of these? It is a term that is often thrown around when people talk about staying healthy.
There are a number of different foods available that are rich in anti-oxidants. These have a number of positive effects on your health.
Here, I will quickly discuss some of the common foods that contain anti-oxidants that you must include in your daily diet.
What Are Anti-Oxidants?
Anti-oxidants are molecules that protect the body against the harmful effects of free radicals.
Okay, so what are free radicals?
To put it in simple terms, free radicals are bad for you. They are composed of oxygen (reactive oxygen species, or ROS) or nitrogen (reactive nitrogen species, or RNS). Free radicals are atoms or molecules that have the capability of reacting with certain chemicals in the body.
This interaction can affect the normal function of human cells.
Free radicals can be produced in the body in many ways, as you can see in the table below.
Free radicals play a role in the development of conditions such as heart disease, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and cancer. Clearly, they are not to be ignored.
How Does An Anti-oxidant Help?
An anti-oxidant neutralizes the effect of free radicals generated in the body. By doing so, they protect the cells, tissues and vital organs from free radical damage.
In other words, a diet rich in anti-oxidants can protect you from cancer, heart attacks and a variety of other disease.
Anti-oxidants available naturally include vitamin C and E, minerals such as selenium and certain kinds of flavonoids. Fruits and vegetables are the richest natural sources available.
You can also get anti-oxidants from supplements, though it is better to get them naturally.
The ORAC Score
In this article, you will find that I have mentioned the words ‘ORAC’ score quite a bit.
The ORAC score stands for ‘Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity‘.
It is basically a measure of the anti-oxidant capacity of the food or substance. It is expressed as micro-mole TE/100gm.
The higher the ORAC score, the greater the anti-oxidant capacity. Foods with a high ORAC score are considered ‘super foods’.
11 Foods Rich In Anti-Oxidants
Let’s get into the foods that are rich in anti-oxidants.
1. Goji Berries
ORAC score: 25000
Goji berries are readily available and are best consumed as a snack. They are also called wolfberries and are a native of China.
Goji berries are believed to have a calming effect on the mind. They are also believed to aid weight loss and help you sleep better.
Avoid eating goji berries if you are taking blood thinners such as warfarin or acitrom.
ORAC Score: 14,000
Blue berries are rich in vitamin C, a powerful anti-oxidant. They have an extremely high content of anti-oxidants and are also rich in fiber.
They taste great in muffins, but it is healthier to add them to your morning oats.
ORAC Score: 314,446
Cloves are nature’s super spice. With an extremely high ORAC score, cloves have a number of anti-oxidant and antiseptic properties.
In addition to this, cloves have local anaesthetic and anti-inflammatory properties as well.The flavonoids in clove are powerful anti-oxidants.
Besides this, cloves can aid digestion. They are also rich in vitamin A and beta carotene, along with other multi-vitamins.
Check out your local spice market for cloves. Alternatively, you can buy them online here.
4. Dark Chocolate
ORAC Score: 21,000
Aren’t you happy I listed this here?!!
Dark chocolate contains a higher concentration of cocoa solids, with lesser fat and milk products. The sugar content is also relatively less.
Cocoa has strong anti-oxidant properties too. make sure you indulge in moderation.
5. Indian Gooseberry (Amla)
ORAC Score: 261,500
Amla contains high concentrations of vitamin C, and has an extremely high ORAC score.
It is commonly used in ayurvedic preparations due its powerful health benefits and anti-oxidant properties. It also contains calcium, iron and phosphorus.
Besides this, amla is used in hair oils and to help improve digestion. It is believed to have benefit in diabetes and heart disease as well.
You will find amlas at your local grocers. You can find amla juice online here.
ORAC Score: 267,537
A small stick of cinnamon in your curry can go a long way in keeping you healthy.
This is because cinnamon is a powerful anti-oxidant and contains substantial amounts of polyphenols. In addition to this, it also has anti-inflammatory properties as well. Some studies have suggested that cinnamon can reduce your chances of developing heart disease.
ORAC Score: 102,700
This brilliantly yellow spice is loaded with goodness. Curcumin is one such element that makes turmeric a king amongst spices.
Curcumin is a powerful anti-oxidant and possesses anti-inflammatory properties.
You can find turmeric powder or fresh turmeric at your local store.
8. Cumin seeds
ORAC Score: 76,800
Cumin seeds are a common additive in Indian cooking, and is usually added without a second thought to the health benefits it brings.
Cumin seeds are notorious in boosting immunity and help protect you against the common cold, asthma and bronchitis. Some believe it can help fight cancer. There is some evidence that cumin seeds help reduce cholesterol levels.
You can find cumin seeds at your local spice shop.
ORAC Score: 28,810
Ginger is a root that is often used in Indian cooking. It is also a favourite in Thai cuisine as well.
There are different kinds of ginger, but all of them have great medicinal and anti-oxidant properties. Gingerol is the primary ingredient in ginger with these powerful effects.
Ginger is also believed to be useful in managing nausea and can fight certain types of cancers. It can protect the heart against heart attacks as well.
Try brewing your next cup of tea with a slice of ginger for a hit of spice and goodness.
ORAC Score: 157,380
This is not a very widely available herb in India, but it is most certainly a popular one in the west. This is not just because fresh thyme has a memorable, fresh smell; it is also because thyme has a number of different medicinal effects on the body.
It can help treat stomach and digestion problems, can relieve symptoms of acute bronchitis and may even treat acne!
Its powerful anti-oxidant effect is due to the high levels of vitamin C and vitamin A that are in thyme leaves.
If you manage to get hold of some fresh thyme, then make sure you try out some of these recipes.
11. Kidney beans (Rajma)
ORAC Score: 8606
Red kidney beans are super foods in their own way. Not only are they a great source of high quality protein; they contain vitamin C, B1, B2 and many others that boost immunity and fight free radicals.
Not just that – red kidney beans are rich in essential fats and minerals that promote overall health.
Best had in salads or in a healthy curry.
So there you have it – some awesome foods that are high in anti-oxidants. Make sure you eat some of these on a regular basis.
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