Since the dawn of time, people have been looking for the fountain of youth. They need not have looked far, because many sources come from anyone’s back yard. Antioxidants have been considered age-stoppers and even age-reversals to some. They are powerful enough to stop cell degradation, but can be consumed as a food in most cases.
Technically, an antioxidant is a molecule that inhibits the oxidization of another molecule. When a cell oxidizes, it can produce free radicals, which can cause cell damage or even death of a cell. The most common form of cell damage is cancer. Antioxidants have long been used to fight cancer and other health issues.
Sources of Antioxidants
1. Berries and cherries
These are known as “fruits of color.” Any fruit that is high in color, such as blackberries, blueberries and strawberries, are high in antioxidants. This also includes cherries and pomegranates. White fruits such as gooseberries and white grapes also have antioxidants, but a lesser amount than darker fruits.
Citrus fruits – such as oranges, tangerines and grapefruit – contain high amounts of antioxidants. Even the lesser known ones, such as the Buddha’s hand and Ugli fruit are great sources.
This type of fruit includes apples and pears. Though they may not be as high as some other foods in antioxidants, they are still great sources.
4. Honey and bee pollen
5. Red wine
Lately we’ve heard a lot about drinking red wine for your heart health – it’s because red wine contains resveratrol, a powerful antioxidant. If you don’t want the alcohol that wine contains, you can simmer it off.
My favorite! I can find any excuse to eat chocolate, and now I don’t need one. Dark chocolate has more antioxidants than milk chocolate. The higher the percentage, the better. If you can handle 70%, that is one of the best. I’ve even seen 100% bittersweet chocolate. It’s mostly for cooking, but is also a great source of antioxidants. (Learn to make your own chocolate here)
7. Tea and coffee
White tea and green tea have been attributed to longevity, but black tea has more antioxidants than both of them. The percentage can make up to 20% of the weight of black tea. Some also think that the antioxidants in coffee may help delay the onset of or even prevent Alzheimer’s Disease. (Find organic teas and coffee here.)
Most of your legumes, beans, peas and even peanuts are high in antioxidants.
9. Argan Oil
Argan Oil has been used in cosmetics and hair care for centuries. Now we find it’s edible and has a high amount of antioxidants. (Find organic argan oil here.)
10. Olive Oil
Olive oil is another great source of antioxidants. In fact, the olive itself is also a source. (Find California extra virgin olive oil here.)
11. Vitamin E
Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant, and is used as a preservative in many food and cosmetic products. But it can also be found naturally in certain foods like sunflower seeds, avocados, and peanut butter. Add Vitamin E oil to your DIY beauty products to get the benefits for your skin and help prevent oxidative damage. (Find Vitamin E oil here.)
Many of the herbs we use are great sources as well. Fresh parsley, oregano, sage and even mints are all good sources. Use them by the handful, not just as a garnish.
Most of your culinary spices, such as cinnamon and nutmeg are great sources of antioxidants. In addition, they are usually antimicrobial and antibacterial – probably because of the antioxidants present. Here’s a surprising fact: a tablespoon of ground cinnamon has more antioxidants than a cup of blueberries. Really! (Find organic spices here.)
Most nuts, like almonds, pecans and pistachios, have a high amount of antioxidants. In addition, they contain numerous other vitamins and minerals. Add them to your daily diet in many ways.
Celery and celery root contain a high amount of antioxidants. Add them to a salad today!
The cabbage family – cabbage, kale, brussel sprouts, broccoli – they are all very high in antioxidants.
Many people find it hard to incorporate some of these things into their diets, but it’s really not hard. Substitute olive oil for canola oil. Cut out croutons on your salad and add almond slivers. Add fresh herbs to your meals. You can even add antioxidant benefits to your diet with smoothies like the following:
Antioxidant Packed Smoothie
- 1 cup of ice
- a bit of hot water
- ¼ of a small head of red cabbage
- 1 cup of fruit (blueberries, blackberries, or another “fruit of color”)
- ½ an apple
- 1 stalk of celery
- 1 tablespoon of raw honey
- 1 tablespoon of flax seeds (find organic flax seeds)
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil (find unrefined olive oil here)
- handful of walnuts (find walnuts here)
- anything else you might like! (I add some yogurt, and some people like peanut butter.)
Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend well. This will make a few glasses, so be prepared to share!