There’s food, and there’s antioxidant food. Know what we mean?
Don’t worry, you’ll know all there is to know about antioxidant foods come the end of this article. So, let’s get started!
What are antioxidants?
They’re essentially molecules that are produced in our body. You can also find them in certain types of food too, i.e. antioxidant food. They’re good for us because they help protect the body from a set of potentially harmful molecules that go by the name of free radicals.
When we have too much free radical activity going on in our body, it can trigger something to occur that’s referred to as oxidative stress. When our body’s in this state, it’s possible for our DNA and other important cells to become damaged.1
Just one more thing to mention about antioxidant food…it’s measured using something rather scientific-sounding, the Ferric Reducing Ability of Plasma (or FRAP) for short. The higher the FRAP level, the more antioxidants within the food that’s being tested.2
Basics out the way, let’s crack on with the main event – those all-important antioxidant rich foods.
6 foods and drink high in antioxidants
Blueberries are beautiful things because they’re juicy and tasty, low in calories and full of nutrients and antioxidants.
Studies have found that blueberries contain the highest amount of antioxidants among all commonly consumed fruits and vegetables. Meanwhile, there’s one antioxidant in particular that’s present in blueberries, anthocyanins.
Nutritional details – at a glance:3,4
|Calories (per cup)||84|
Nuts are good for providing a helping of healthy fats, as well as some protein and carbohydrate. Different types of nuts contain different levels of goodness, e.g. minerals and phytochemicals. However, most nuts contain phytochemicals, such as resveratrol and plant sterols, that can help lower cholesterol.5
Walnuts are particularly rich in several antioxidants, ellagic acid, catechin, melatonin and phytic acid, which can mainly be found in the skin.6
Nutritional details (for walnuts) – at a glance:7
|Calories (per 30g)||185|
Tea happens to contain powerful phytochemicals – anthocyanin and pro anthocyanin. It also contains catechin antioxidants too, which are believed to be able to help block some of the free radical cell damage we mentioned up above.
In particular, green tea contains catechin, EGCG, which is renowned for having particularly potent antioxidant properties.8
Nutritional details (for green tea) – at a glance:9
|Calories (100g cup)||1|
Artichokes are a vegetable that happens to be a fabulous source of dietary fibre, minerals and antioxidants. When it comes to their FRAP score, they contain up to 4.7 mmol of antioxidants per 100g.
(A little tip for you…boiling artichokes can increase their antioxidant level by up to 8 times. And if you steam them, it can increase the level by up to 15 times).10
Nutritional details – at a glance:11
|Calories (1 artichoke)||25|
5. Goji berries
Goji berries may have a bit of an unusual name, and not many people may have heard of them as much as they’ve heard of mainstream berries, such as your strawberries, blueberries and blackberries etc, but they aren’t to be overlooked.
These tiny, slightly chewy, sweet berries happen to go way back, and have been used for Chinese medicinal purposes for some 2,000 years and more. They contain antioxidants, as well as vitamins and minerals and their FRAP score comes in at around 4.3 mmol of antioxidants per 100g.
Nutritional details – at a glance:12
|Iron||11% of the RDA|
|Vitamin A||501% of the DV|
|Vitamin C||15% of the DV|
The beauty of broccoli is that it’s packed full of phenolics, which is a type of chemical that plants create to help protect them against oxidative stress.
But that’s not all, broccoli also happens to contain lutein, which is a compound antioxidant, and sulforaphane, which has been described by some as being a potent antioxidant.
Nutritional details – at a glance:13
|Calcium||43mg/3% of the DV|
|Iron||1mg/4% of the DV|
|Magnesium||19mg/5% of the DV|
|Potassium||288mg/6% of the DV|
|Vitamin K||93mcg/77% of the DV|
For more on the benefits of eating high antioxidant food read, ‘The benefits of an antioxidant-rich diet.’
Author: Donia Hilal, Nutritionist
Donia started her career as a freelance nutritionist, later she joined Nestle as their Market Nutritionist to help support their healthier product range, before joining the team at Holland & Barrett in January 2018. Donia has 6 years experience as a Nutritionist and also works with clients on a one to one basis to support their goals which include weight loss, prenatal and postnatal nutrition and children’s health.
Donia has a special interest in; weight management, plant-based nutrition, pregnancy nutrition, special diets and disease risk reduction. Donia’s LinkedIn profile
Last updated: 27 November 2020