Monday, November 3, 2008

Antioxidants: The Leader of the Pack

I have been reading your post for sometime now and have learned so much. Thank you! I would like to see a list of antioxidants that I should be eating to begin the beautification process from the inside out.

Great question. The highest level of antioxidant foods generally found in supermarkets are, in order of strength: undutched cocoa powder (twice that of red wine/three times that of green tea); bittersweet chocolate; white tea; green rooibos tea; green tea; red rooibos tea; oolong tea; and black tea. Some studies claim that the blueberry (especially wild blueberry, a.k.a. bilberry) contains more antioxidants than any other mainstream fruit or vegetable, when compared on the basis of equal calories. Others give the top award to Montmorency cherry juice—which does have more calories than blueberries, but is accessible year-round. Other fruits and berries that are high in antioxidants include the blackberry, raspberry, cranberry, cherry (especially the Montmorency, also known as the tart or sour cherry), dried plum (prune), dark grapes (including raisins, purple grape juice and red wine), crowberry (a North American berry that looks similar to a blueberry), kiwi, pomegranate, papaya (a source of vitamin E, lycopene and beta-carotene, three very powerful antioxidants), citrus fruit such as orange and grapefruit (the highest concentration of antioxidants are in the pulp, where the pectin is found); and leafy, dark green cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, daikon radish, kale, kohlrabi, mustard/chard greens, parsnip, rutabaga, turnip and watercress). The latest star of the antioxidant show is the Brazilian acai berry, a true superfruit.

FYI - One cup of green tea has antioxidant effects greater than a serving of broccoli, an antioxidant-rich food. A 2006 study showed that elderly Japanese people who drank more than 2 cups of green tea a day had a 50% lower chance of cognitive impairment than those who drank less green tea, or who consumed other tested beverages. The high amount of catechins in green tea are believed to be responsible.*