Life’s a Bowl of Cherries (and Raisins): Antioxidant Rich Foods

Antioxidants play an important role in health and wellness. As active compounds in foods, antioxidants reduce oxidative cell damage. While there are supplements available, the American Heart Association recommends getting antioxidants from foods as they are absorbed and utilized to a greater extent. Many foods contain antioxidants, but fruits are one of the best sources.

Prunes

Prunes are a high source of vitamin A, a natural antioxidant. They also contain antioxidant compounds known as neochlorogenic and chlorogenic acid as well as beta-carotene. A cup of prunes contains approximately 84% of the daily value needed of vitamin A. While most people will not consume an entire cup of prunes, having one or two every day is a good way to get antioxidants in the diet. Additionally, plums, the undried fruit, are a good source of antioxidants as well. For those who enjoy fresh plums, the antioxidants contained in both the fruit and its dried counterpart, play an important role in inhibiting tumor cells.

Blueberries

Both fresh and dried blueberries contain a high amount of antioxidant compounds. According to researchers at Tuft’s University, blueberries were ranked highest in antioxidant activity when compared to over forty fruits and vegetables. What makes these small fruits such an excellent source is their high amount of different antioxidant compounds. Blueberries contain a significant amount of vitamin C, a vitamin that also functions as an antioxidant. They’re small size makes them one of the easiest sources of antioxidants.

Blackberries, Raspberries and Strawberries

While all berries contain antioxidants, blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries contain the highest amounts of antioxidants. Blackberries contain a high amount of vitamin C as well as polyphoens and anthocyanins that work in the body to prevent cancer and heart disease. Strawberries are also a rich source of vitamin C. Just one cup of these berries contains over 100% of the daily value of vitamin C. Finally, raspberries are a type of fruit that originate in the rose family and contain unique antioxidant compounds. Red raspberries contain ellegic acid which is responsible for their antioxidant ability.

Citrus Sources

Most citrus fruits contain a high amount of vitamin C. While most people would not consume adequate amounts of lemons, oranges and grapefruit are good sources of antioxidants to include in a healthy diet. Vitamin C helps to prevent tumor cells as well as prevent inflammation. This water soluble vitamin and antioxidant also prevents plaque buildup so it’s a good idea to eat vitamin C rich foods when experiencing high cholesterol or heart disease.

Since each of these fruits contains unique antioxidant compounds, the best way to see significant health benefits is to enjoy a variety of these fruits on a daily basis. Choose these fruits as they are available throughout the year and try to get at least a serving of fruit every day. The health benefits of antioxidant rich fruits are numerous and can prevent specific diseases such as heart disease or cancer. They also work to prevent signs of aging and cell damage. Use this expert advice to learn which fruits are highest in antioxidants and make the best choices.

Author Info

Dr. Michael Heim

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