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What are good sources of antioxidants?

Dr. Rovenia Brock, PhD
Nutrition & Dietetics Specialist

Though our bodies have a natural supply of antioxidants, they are not enough. Plant-based antioxidants—such as those found in beta-carotene, alpha-carotene and vitamins C and E—consumed in a diet rich in fruits and vegetables help augment our bodies' natural antioxidants. So it's important to eat plenty of veggies and fruits in order to help ward off disease and the problems associated with aging. As it happens, many of the foods that are richest in antioxidants are also richest in phytochemicals.

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These foods have the most antioxidants per serving:

  • Kidney beans, pinto beans, black beans and red beans
  • Blueberries, blackberries, cranberries, raspberries, strawberries and cherries
  • Cooked artichokes
  • Prunes and plums
  • Walnuts
  • Apples

Spices such as cinnamon, cloves and oregano are also rich in antioxidants.

Your body cells naturally produce plenty of antioxidants to put on patrol. The foods you eat—and, perhaps, some of the supplements you take—are another source of antioxidant compounds. Carotenoids (such as lycopene in tomatoes and lutein in kale) and flavonoids (such as anthocyanins in blueberries, quercetin in apples and onions, and catechins in green tea) are antioxidants. The vitamins C and E and the mineral selenium also have antioxidant properties. Berries, dark chocolate, apples, onions and certain types of tea are all sources of the flavonoid antioxidants.

Alice Pereira, RD
Nutrition & Dietetics Specialist

Fruits and vegetables are good sources of antioxidants. Diets filled with fruits and vegetables offer a full plate of phytochemicals (a class of nutrients that occur naturally in plants), vitamins and minerals, all which can act as antioxidants.

The list of antioxidants includes:

  • vitamin C
  • vitamin E
  • carotenoids, such as beta-carotene, and vitamin A
  • selenium
  • zinc
  • other phytochemicals like indole-3-carbinol (found in cruciferous vegetables, such as cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, kale and Brussels sprouts); allyl sulfides (onions, leeks, garlic); flavonoids (fruits, teas) and polyphenols (teas, grapes)
Julieanna Hever, RD
Nutrition & Dietetics Specialist

There's a visual trick to figuring out which foods are good sources of antioxidants. In this video, dietitian explains how why it's smart to choose a food by its color.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.