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Up your antioxidant intake

Up your antioxidant intake

Our bodies need ample antioxidants to help protect our cells and DNA from the damage caused by free radicals.

While this damage forms part of various natural processes, free radical production can spiral out of control due to chronic stress – life, emotional, exercise, diet and/or environmental stresses.

The resultant oxidative stress can exceed normal limits and potentially damage your DNA and other important structures in your cells. As such, chronic oxidative stress is associated with an increased risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer.

While consuming a steady supply of antioxidants is necessary to ensure optimal health and wellbeing, boosting your intake becomes vital during periods of heightened stress to help limit the damage and support your health.

What the FRAP?

Our bodies can produce antioxidants, or we can get them from foods and supplements. However, the best place to get antioxidants is from your diet. Antioxidants abound in various natural fresh, colourful foods, particularly fresh fruits and vegetables.

Food scientists use a FRAP (ferric reducing ability of plasma) analysis to measure the antioxidant content of foods – the higher the value, the more antioxidants the food contains.

The FRAP test measures how well antioxidants neutralise a specific free radical. And specific antioxidants neutralise specific free radicals, so consuming a broad spectrum is the ideal approach.

Based on FRAP tests, these foods contain the highest levels of antioxidants:

Get more antioxidants

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) tested various foods to develop a list of those with the highest antioxidant content. Based on this list, additional beneficial sources to add to your daily diet include:

  1. Small red beans
  2. Red kidney beans
  3. Pinto beans
  4. Cranberries
  5. Blackberries
  6. Prunes
  7. Raspberries
  8. Apples (red delicious, Granny Smith and gala)
  9. Sweet cherries
  10. Plums
  11. Russet potatoes
  12. Black beans
  13. Dark leafy green vegetables

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