When people talk about changing their diet into something healthier, it is inevitable that the subject about antioxidants will come up. It is high on the list of those who are concerned with a healthier lifestyle and including more fresh fruits and vegetables in their diet to slow down the aging process and to fight off certain diseases such as cancer and heart disease. Most fruits and vegetables contain different levels of antioxidants; however there are four fruits that are considered to contain the highest levels of antioxidants. These levels are measure by a scale called the oxygen radical absorbance capacity or simply ORAC. The US Department of Agriculture have examined over a hundred vegetables, fruits, nuts, cereals and spices and have published a list of those foods with high antioxidant content. Of those that have been selected, there are four foods that are super high in antioxidants and these are not even hard to find. Take a look below.
- One of the four foods are red berries that you use to make cranberry sauce for your Thanksgiving turkey. Cranberries are very rich in chemicals that have anti-aging properties that affect the brain cells. These antioxidants are called proanthocyanidins. These are said to help stem coordination and memory loss that are more common to those people who are advanced in years. Cranberries can be taken as juice or as preserved. Choose those with less or no sugar added.
- Red beans are one of the top foods that are highly charged with antioxidants. This is followed by the red kidney beans and the pinto beans. These small, inexpensive beans are rich in flavonoids, which help lower the risk of heart disease and have antiviral, anti-inflammatory properties.
- Wild as well as cultivated blueberries also have very high antioxidant properties. Just like cranberries, blueberries also contain high levels of anthocyanidin that help prevent skin aging by preserving the collagen that keeps the skin looking young and elastic. Anthocyanidin is also attributed to help prevent early memory loss and lack of body coordination often associated with aging.
- Artichokes are up there in the list of top ten fruits and vegetables with super high levels of antioxidants. Some label artichokes as antioxidant powerhouse. They contain quercetin that is known to help prevent heart disease and some forms of cancer. Artichokes also have anti-inflammatory and anti-allergenic properties. They have luteolin, which keep cholesterol levels in check as well as cynarin that aid in the regeneration of the tissues of the liver.
To get the maximum benefits from the antioxidant properties of fruits and vegetables, eat them raw or blanched. Do not eat them singly; rather enjoy them mixed with other foods. You can mix the berries in your salads and desserts and fresh fruit juices. Other fruits and vegetables that have high antioxidant contents are prunes, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, apples, pecans and plums. Next time you go shopping include these produce in your grocery list and enjoy the benefits of these antioxidants to keep you young, healthy and active.