Antioxidants are naturally occurring compounds found in a variety of grains, fruits and vegetables. A diet rich in antioxidant foods helps build a strong defence against free radicals. The brighter, deeper coloured fruits and vegetables contain higher concentrations of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Vitamin C and E are two primary antioxidants in the body.
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Fruits and dried fruits are high in antioxidants. Some fruits contain higher amounts of antioxidants than others. Wild blueberries contain 13,427 antioxidants per cup compared with 9,019 for cultivated blueberries. Although wild blueberries rank the highest for fruits, blackberries, dried prunes, raspberries, strawberries, apples, sweet cherries and plums contain substantial amounts of antioxidants.
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Recently, the bean has been recognised as one of the highest sources of antioxidants. The small red bean is at the top of the list with 13,727 antioxidants per half cup, followed closely by the kidney and pinto bean with 13,259 and 11,864, respectively. Spinach, broccoli, carrots and potatoes are considered an excellent sources of antioxidants. Artichoke hearts have 7,904 antioxidants per cup. Cabbage, asparagus, avocados, beetroot, collard greens, kale, radish, lettuce, pumpkin, squash and sweet potatoes contain 4,000 antioxidants or less per serving.
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Nuts and Grains
Cereal grains, as long as they are whole grain, and nuts also are excellent sources of antioxidants. Oatmeal, granola bars and cereals such as cornflakes provide beneficial levels of vitamin E which has been linked to preventing cancer. Nuts such as pecans, with 5,095 antioxidants per ounce, provide more antioxidants than some fruits. Walnuts, hazelnuts, pistachios, cashews and macadamia nuts, as well as peanut butter, also are high in antioxidants.
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Juices, Tea and Wine
Fruit juices such as apple, cider, pomegranate, grapefruit and tomato supply a large amount of antioxidants. Nutritionists once thought green tea had more antioxidants than other teas. However, research shows black tea could be equally beneficial. Both types of tea contain about 1,250 antioxidants per serving. White and plain tea contain favourable amounts, as well. Red wine is another beverage containing favourable amounts of antioxidants, particularly Cabernet Sauvignon.