In one of our previous post, we gave an overview of what antioxidants are, why they are important for our health, and where we can get them. This post will provide a list of foods high in antioxidants and elaborate a little more on a controversial topic we thought you might enjoy reading. Many people ask questions about the food with the highest antioxidants, or what is the most potent antioxidant? Do these questions matter in the context of our health?
What are antioxidants?
As a little reminder, antioxidants are essential molecules that help our body fight against the “bad” effects of oxygen-derived free radicals. It is estimated that ~10,000 free radical molecules attack each cell of our body every day. Our body has ~40 trillion cells, and if you multiply that by 10,000, then we end up with a crazy number. Our body needs a continuous supply of antioxidants to be able to eliminate these free radicals. Therefore, it would make sense to focus on the foods with the most potent antioxidants to fight these free radicals effectively, right? There is even an official website where you can see what food has the highest ORAC value. Again, does it matter? Shall you focus on the top-10 best antioxidant foods from this list?
List of top-20 common foods high in antioxidants
Does it matter which food is high in antioxidants?
Well, this matter is not so simple, and we will explain why. We usually put all antioxidants in the same bucket as if they were interchangeable. That is not correct. The term “antioxidants” includes tens, if not, hundreds of different molecules that have unique chemical and biological properties. While it is true that a diet high in antioxidants is good for your health, diets high in antioxidants that come from a limited number of foods do not provide the same benefit. Remember, diversity is everything. Antioxidants work like instruments in an orchestra. You can play Beethoven with a trumpet or many trumpets, but you will never be able to get the same magnificent result as when all the instruments play.
Which one is the best antioxidant?
Many efforts have been made to identify the most effective single antioxidant and put it in pills. However, the results are rather disappointing. These studies failed because antioxidants work together to fight free radicals, and they complement each other. Therefore, it is critical to include antioxidants from different food sources in our diet. If possible, we should also try to get them from natural or minimally processed products.
To conclude, does it matter if peppermint, lingonberry, blueberry, matcha green tea, or Chaga mushroom is the food with the highest antioxidants? No. What matters the most to your health is diversity. The best way to achieve this is to try to include many different antioxidant-rich foods in your daily diet.
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