You must have often heard your freaking health conscious friends say "Oh, I am eating a tuna sandwich", "Hey, why not have some nuts at our desk to munch on"!!! Ever wondered, why only tuna, nuts, berries? Just because you want a healthy heart? Is that all you want? A healthy heart that pumps enough blood!

Why not go for foods that provide a protective shield to your cells too? Foods packed with antioxidants. If you are not sure what these antioxidants are, we are here to make you aware.

We should first know what oxidants are before we delve on to antioxidants.

"Oxidants are free radicals that you find in the environment, but they are also produced naturally in your body," says Diane McKay, Ph.D., an assistant professor and researcher at Tufts University's Antioxidants Research Laboratory. 

Our body creates antioxidants to protect us from viruses and microbes, but if produced in large quantity it may have a negative impact on human body as it can cause cancer or heart diseases. Air pollution, cigarette smoke and alcohol are some of other source from where we get antioxidants on daily basis.

Health Benefits of Antioxidants

This is where the antioxidants pitch in. Antioxidants help in creating the much required balance. These help you fight the excess free radicals hitting your body. Antioxidants help in keeping some life-altering diseases at bay.

Antioxidants consist of a food-based substance such as carotenoids, Lycopene and Vitamin C. They are many natural benefits of consuming antioxidant, majority of them have a huge impact on the longevity and overall health.

Here are the few benefits of consuming antioxidant foods.

  • Lower the sign of aging
  • More youthful skin
  • Reduced Cancer Risk
  • Increases life span
  • Safeguards against the heart-related diseases
  • Improved eyesight
  • Oxidation and spoilage of food or other products can be prevented by usage of antioxidants.

Read how fruits and vegetables are useful to reduce disease risk.

Based on the ORAC ( Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) score provided by the nutrient data laboratory, Beltsville human nutrition research center and agricultural research service of the U.S Department of agriculture, below are some of the top antioxidant foods weight:

  • Goji Berries 25K Score
  • Wild Blueberries 14K Score
  • Dark Chocolate 21K Score
  • Pecans 17K Score
  • Artichoke 9.4K Score
  • Kidney beans 8.4K Score
  • Cranberries 9.5K Score
  • Blackberries 5.3K Score
  • Cilantro 5.1K score

The ORAC scores above are based on weight. This means that it might not be practical to eat high amounts of all of these antioxidant foods. Other high antioxidant foods not listed above, which are still great sources and highly beneficial, include common foods like tomatoes, carrots, pumpkin seeds, sweet potatoes, pomegranates, strawberries, kale, broccoli, grapes or red wine, squash, and wild-caught salmon. Try to consume at least three to four servings daily of these high antioxidant foods (even more is better) for optimal health.