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10 Best Antioxidant Foods

Our bodies are constantly susceptible to free radicals. Free radicals are molecules that have an unpaired valence electron that can cause damage to surrounding cells. Free radicals can come from pollution, excessive exposure to sunlight and other natural elements we encounter day-to-day. Antioxidants may help protect our cells from free radicals by providing electrons and neutralising free radicals. There are many foods rich in antioxidants, and here are 10 of the most delectable, antioxidant-filled foods:

Acai Berries
Upon hearing about acai berries, you’re bound to hear a thing or two about antioxidants. This is because acai berries are packed with antioxidants; in fact, acai berries are believed to contain more antioxidants than almost any other berry. Also composed of essential vitamins and fatty acids, acai nourishes cells and tissues throughout the body with the nutrients needed for optimal health.

Amazon natives are believed to have incorporated acai berries in their diet by either creating acai juice or eating the berries alone, which may have helped support the healthy ageing of the Amazon dwellers. The antioxidants in acai juice help protect our bodies from free radicals we encounter through environmental factors that are often out of our control.

Beans are often overlooked when it comes to their antioxidant power, but surprisingly, a 2004 study found that dried beans have substantial levels of antioxidants. Researchers found small, dark and red beans, like black beans and red kidney beans, are the beans that have the highest antioxidant power [1]

Along with beans’ incredible free radical fighting power, beans are also filled with fiber and protein that supports healthy digestion, energy levels, and overall wellbeing. So adding beans to your diet provides you with necessary nutrients, while helping to prevent oxidative damage with antioxidants.

Barley Grass
Barley Grass is a nutritious green food with one of the highest antioxidant capacity in nature. Barley grass is a rich source of essential vitamins, minerals, protein and amino acids. In just a small amount of barley grass, you gain more than 50 percent of your daily-recommend vitamin A, which has crucial antioxidants for skin, teeth and all tissues within the body.

Barley grass also absorbs chlorophyll, which comes directly from the sun and rich in antioxidants. Vitamin A and chlorophyll are super supportive of skin health, and these antioxidants may help combat oxidative damage caused by pollution or other environmental factors.

Native to North America, cranberries have been eaten for hundreds of years for its recognisable sweet and sour taste, along with its health benefits. Ancient fishermen and mariners used to bring cranberries on their voyages to help promote healthy energy levels, reinforce the immune system and prevent scurvy. Today, cranberry supplements are a staple in the world of nutrition. Naturally high in vitamin C, fiber, essential minerals and antioxidants—cranberries may help prevent free radical damage.

Adding cranberries to your diet, or taking cranberry supplements provides the body with potent antioxidants and vitamins that help keep the immune system healthy and cells protected.

Cacao, not to be confused with cocoa, is the most pure and nutritious form of chocolate. Packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber and of course antioxidants, raw cacao powder boasts an impressive nutritional profile. Cacao has been used during rituals and celebrations since ancient Mayan times, and coined the name, “food of the gods.”

Raw cacao beans are rich in phytonutrients and antioxidants that have been traditionally known to enhance mood, promote youthful skin and boost immunity. Not only good for you, cacao also has a delectable, chocolate flavour (chocolate is made from cacao) that you can receive from raw cacao beans or a raw cacao powder.

Purple Aronia Berries
Purple aronia berries have a greater antioxidant capacity than nearly any other fruit. The deep purple, nearly black berry is native to North America and has a distinct sweet, semi tart taste. Rich phenolic compounds give the berry its intense colouring and antioxidant-rich composition. Purple aronia berries also contain substantial amounts of vitamins and minerals, and antioxidant-dense phytochemicals that nourish the entire body.

Cloves are the dried, unopened buds from the evergreen trees native to Madagascar and Sri Lanka. This herb has a highest antioxidant power and contains a rich makeup of phytonutrients. Also a rich source of eugenol, a fat-soluble antioxidant with nourishing properties, clove supports healthy ageing and overall wellbeing.

Clove is available in many forms. It is a popular addition in the kitchen, but clove supplements are also popular because of clove’s health benefits.

This culinary staple is a superfood filled with antioxidants and vitamins that support vitality. Spinach is filled with lutein, iron, and vitamin A and C, and promotes eye and skin health, along with energy levels, with its antioxidant makeup.

Spinach can be eaten to gain all the nutritious benefits, but if you’re looking for a fast way to reap the benefits, spinach supplements are available for quick antioxidant consumption. Spinach supplements come in capsule or powder form, and may be added to recipes or beverages for an antioxidant boost.

Turmeric Root
Turmeric root is a staple in Indian cuisine, but it is also a staple in Ayurvedic herbalism where it has earned the reputation of “cleanser of the body.” Curcumin is the principal curcuinoid of turmeric, and it gives the Indian herb its active antioxidant benefits.

Turmeric root has been traditionally used to support normal inflammation responses, immunity, and to combat free radicals with its rich makeup of antioxidants.

Bee Pollen
Bee pollen has been used for centuries to promote healing and longevity. In fact, it’s believed that Pythagoras and Hippocrates used to prescribe bee pollen to those in need of healing. [2] The carefully crafted bee pollen is a ball packed with royal jelly, pollen, and nectar, crafted by hard working bees. This pollen ball is filled antioxidants, amino acids and vitamins that support the entire body.

Ancient Chinese herbalists have long used bee pollen to promote wellness, and are still used today for its nutritious makeup and protective antioxidant capabilities.

1. Inc., R. (2011, October 30). Beyond blueberries: 8 unexpected antioxidants. Retrieved April 22, 2015, from NBC News

2. Herbs, M. R. (n.d.). Bee Pollen. Retrieved April 23, 2015, from Mountain Rose Herbs