Antioxidants are pretty big players when it comes to managing inflammation and maintaining optimal health.
But did you ever wonder how certain foods stack up to others? There is actually a rating scale for antioxidant levels in foods called ORAC values (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity).
This is a lab test that quantifies the TAC (Total Antioxidant Capacity) of a food by placing it in a test tube with free radicals (molecules that cause inflammation) and molecules that need to be protected by free radical damage. How well the food performs in protecting the vulnerable molecules is how it's ORAC score is determined.
This is pretty cool, especially for my fellow nutrition nerds out there because this testing can determine synergism between nutrients and antioxidants. For example, we know that blueberries have high levels of anthocyanin (gives a blue hue) which is in the flavonoid family and supports healthy vision, immunity and liver function.
Blueberries are also very high in Vitamins C, K and the mineral manganese which is vital in the metabolism and utilization of protein and carbohydrate.
Going back to that synergy concept, we could deduce that the antioxidant, anthocyanin works very well with Vitamins C, K and mineral manganese because they are all present in blueberries.
Needless to say, here are some of my favorite antioxidant rich foods that you should include in your DAILY, yes daily diet. Aim for at least 2-3 servings per day.
Here are some of my top antioxidant rich foods with their ORAC scores:
1. Dark chocolate (unsweetened): 20,816 ORAC score
2. Pecans: 17,940 ORAC score
3. Elderberries: 14,697 ORAC score
4. Wild blueberries: 9,621 ORAC score
5. Artichoke (boiled): 9,416 ORAC score
6. Cranberries: 9,090 ORAC score
7. Kidney beans: 8,606 ORAC score
8. Blackberries: 5,905 ORAC score
9. Cilantro: 5,141 ORAC score
10. Goji berries: 4,310 ORAC score
If you're looking for specific antioxidants here is another helpful chart...