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Good Sources of Antioxidants

Antioxidants are substances found in food. They may help block damage to cells in the body caused by free radicals. Free radicals are substances formed during normal body processes. If not blocked, free radicals may contribute to the development of certain diseases, including cancer and heart disease.

Antioxidants are found mainly in fruits and vegetables. The most important antioxidants are vitamin C, vitamin E, and carotenoids, including beta carotene. Vitamin C is thought to reduce the risk for cataracts, some cancers, and cardiovascular disease. Vitamin E may help prevent cardiovascular disease. Carotenoids from a variety of fruits and vegetables may protect against some cancers, cardiovascular disease, and cataracts. Other antioxidants include lycopene and lutein. 

Many people take supplements containing antioxidants, but research at the American Heart Association indicates that foods are the best sources.

 

Food

Serving size

Antioxidants per serving

Wild blueberries

1 cup

13,427

Red kidney beans

1/2 cup

13,259

Pinto beans

1/2 cup

11,864

Cultivated blueberries

1 cup

9,019

Cranberries

1 cup

8,983

Artichoke hearts

1 cup cooked

7,904

Blackberries

1 cup

7,701

Prunes

1/2 cup

7,291

Raspberries

1 cup

6,058

Strawberries

1 cup

5,938

Red Delicious apples

1 medium

5,900

Granny Smith apples

1 medium

5,381

Pecans

1 ounce

5,095

Sweet cherries

1 cup

4,873

Black plums

1 whole

4,844

Russet potatoes

1 whole

4,649

Black beans

1/2 cup

4,181

Red plums

1 medium

4,118

Gala apples

1 medium

3,903

Source: USDA

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