Antioxidants are the chemicals in foods that prevent cell damage and decrease your risk of cancer and other diseases. Antioxidants are most commonly found in fruits and veggies, but they can also be found in nuts, seeds, whole grains, fish and legumes. Eating a diet rich in antioxidants is key to supporting your immune system, so you don’t get sick as often, especially during cold and flu season.
To get the most out of eating antioxidant-rich foods, choose a variety of different types so you’re getting the widest spectrum of nutrients possible. Also, try to eat them raw when you can because cooking can affect antioxidant levels.
The following list contains 14 foods high in antioxidants that will help keep your body running smoothly.
Garlic contains allicin, which is thought to be its main active ingredient for fighting infections like colds and flus. Allicin is made by chopping or crushing garlic cloves and it’s at its peak power when eaten raw. But it’s still present when cooked at low heat for a long time — so sautéing garlic is better than boiling it.
Blueberries are in the top five fruits highest in antioxidants, according to the USDA, and they’re also one of the top 25 sources of fiber. A 1/2-cup serving contains only 60 calories but provides 2 grams of fiber, more than 6 percent of your daily value for vitamin C and more than 10 percent of your daily value for manganese. A study published in the journal “Nutrition Research” suggests that blueberries may be useful in preventing kidney damage and other diseases related to oxidative stress.
Apples are an excellent source of quercetin, a powerful antioxidant that reduces inflammation and strengthens the immune system. They also contain vitamins C and E, beta carotene, calcium, potassium and fiber.
Avocados contain large amounts of glutathione which is one of the most powerful antioxidants found in nature.