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Antioxidant Foods


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4 High Antioxidant Foods you need in your Diet

By Dr. Kristie

The term antioxidant has taken on new importance in the past few years as more studies have shown the potential of these natural free radical scavengers to reduce the risk of certain chronic diseases.

An antioxidant is a molecule that has the ability to stabilize the free radical damage that’s a natural part of aging and a key factor in causing disease. If you eat fruits and vegetables, you’re probably reaping the benefits of the many natural antioxidants found in plants, but all antioxidants aren’t created equal.

The antioxidant content of foods can vary considerably. If you want to pack as much antioxidant punch into your diet as possible, there are certain high antioxidant foods you should add to your diet.

How is the antioxidant content of food measured? Scientists use a scale called the oxygen radical absorbance capacity or ORAC to measure the antioxidant capacity of particular foods.

While most fruits, vegetables, as well as some herbs and spices have some antioxidant capability, there are some foods that have been found to have an unusually high antioxidant content. Adding these high antioxidant foods to your diet may be the key to getting the most free radical protection with the least calories. Here are some of the best choices:

Aronia Black Chokeberry

This small, dark berry, the fruit of the Aronia chokeberry shrub is currently the subject of a variety of scientific studies investigating its potential to prevent diseases ranging from heart disease to cancer. Its deep purple coloration comes from the high concentration of phytochemicals found in the skin of the fruit.

When the antioxidant strength of this fruit was measured, it was found to have an incredibly high ORAC value of 16,062, putting it in a class by itself in terms of antioxidant capabilities. Although the fruit may be difficult to find unless you grow your own shrubs, it is available in a powder form and as an extract from certain health food distributors.


Who would have thought the lowly bean would gain such status in the world of phytochemicals? This inexpensive kitchen staple really packs some nutritional punch in terms of antioxidant power.

Three of the best beans for antioxidant content are the small red bean with an ORAC value of 13, 272, the red kidney bean at 13,259, and the pinto bean with an ORAC of 11,864. It’s enough to inspire you to make a bean salad.  


Those colorful blue-red pigments which give blueberries their characteristic color are packed with anthocyanidins, powerful antioxidants that not only wipe up free radicals  but help to support the collagen structure that underlies the skin.

When measured, the antioxidant content of blueberries has an ORAC value of 9,019 which is quite respectable. To get the full antioxidant effects of blueberries, buy them fresh or frozen. The antioxidant potential is lost in most processed foods containing blueberries.


That tart cranberry sauce you put on your turkey at Thanksgiving may do more than look pretty on your plate. This humble, richly colored berry outshines most other fruits with an ORAC value of 8,963.

Like blueberries, cranberries contain anthocyanidins, but they also have high quantities of an antioxidant class known as the proanthocyanidins. These antioxidants are thought to play a role in preventing urinary tract infections.

When adding cranberries and cranberry juice to your diet, look for products with little or no added sugar or buy fresh cranberries. Cranberry juices and canned cranberry sauces are usually quite high in sugar.

Other foods with a high antioxidant content include prunes, apples, strawberries, plums, sweet cherries, and black beans. These would all make delicious and healthy additions to your diet. Why not give your body a little extra antioxidant power and add these foods to your grocery list? 

About the Author

She is a Medical Doctor with a concentration in Family Practice. She also has an undergraduate degree in both Biology and Psychology and masters in Clinical Pathology.


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