The key to finding the best sources of antioxidants does not lie in perusing the vitamin and mineral aisle of your local pharmacy. While tests and studies do indicate that supplements in pill or liquid form can be a source of antioxidants, these products can actually be harmful to the body if taken in too great a quantity. The best sources of antioxidants are found in a wide variety of foods. As a rule of thumb, the more colorful the food, the more likely that it is rich in health-preserving antioxidants.
Many people are not terribly fond of green, leafy vegetables, which are full of antioxidants. Luckily, there are many other foods, many of which taste good, that are equally as beneficial. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) developed a scale that measures the Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) of foods. The recommendation of this group is that a person who wishes to have an antioxidant-rich diet should consume at least 3,000 ORACs per day. One need not feel that meeting this goal demands a devotion to broccoli and Brussels sprouts, for alternatives are plentiful.
In fact, healthful antioxidants can be found in everything from nuts and raw chocolate to berries and beans. Probably the best sources of antioxidants are found in the bean and legume family. Dried red beans and kidney beans, as well as pinto and black beans, are extremely high in antioxidants. Other great sources of antioxidants come from fruit. These tasty disease fighters can either be consumed raw or juiced to a liquid form.
One of the most antioxidant rich foods available is the wild blueberry. Cranberries, blackberries, prunes, raspberries, and strawberries are also great sources of antioxidants. Apples are also on the list, as are cherries and plums. Oranges, grapes, and even kiwi fruit can provide one with large amounts of the antioxidants his body craves.
This is not to say that the much-maligned vegetable should be left out of the antioxidant equation. The American Heart Association recommends that a mixed diet of foods rich in antioxidants is best. The reason for this suggestion is that not all antioxidants are created equal. Some foods loaded with antioxidants are awash in vitamins E or C, while others have higher levels of beta-carotene and selenium. The fruits and beans are fantastic, but one should also include plenty of kale, spinach, red beets, onions, eggplant, and — yes — even the lowly Brussels sprout.