What is the most powerful source of antioxidants?

Broccoli, spinach, carrots, and potatoes are high in antioxidants, as are artichokes, cabbage, asparagus, avocados, beets, radishes, lettuce, sweet potatoes, squash, collards, and kale. Using a lot of spices for cooking is good. This trace element plays an important role in immune system function, DNA synthesis, metabolism, and may also help thyroid health, Moskowitz says. A Brazil nut can provide you with all the selenium you need for the day.

Otherwise, most animal proteins, such as chicken, beef, and fish, also provide a great source of selenium. There are hundreds, probably thousands, of different substances that can act as antioxidants. The best known are vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene and other related carotenoids, along with the minerals selenium and manganese. They are joined by glutathione, coenzyme Q10, lipoic acid, flavonoids, phenols, polyphenols, phytoestrogens and many more.

Most are of natural origin and their presence in food is likely to prevent oxidation or serve as a natural defense against the local environment. Researchers from the University of Oslo studied foods to determine which ones have the highest concentration of antioxidants and published the results in the journal Nutrition Journal. They found that the foods richest in antioxidants included spices and herbs. Other foods rich in antioxidants include fruits and berries, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and even chocolate.

For that reason, Moskowitz says that the best sources of anthocyanins are blackberries, blueberries, cherries, red cabbage and blackcurrants. The American Heart Association, Mayo Clinic and Cleveland Clinic recommend obtaining antioxidants from whole foods and from a wide variety of sources. The best sources of CoQ10 are viscera, some muscle meats such as pork or chicken, fatty fish such as trout and herring, spinach, strawberries and lentils. It's found in most fruits and vegetables, but if broccoli or oranges aren't your thing, don't worry, cocoa is also a very powerful source of vitamin C.

Lutein has benefits for the eyes, skin, arteries, heart and immune system, although dietary sources of antioxidants appear to be generally more effective and safer than supplements. While it's always ideal, and generally more beneficial, to obtain antioxidants or other nutrients directly from real food sources, certain types can also be helpful when consumed in supplement form. Vitamin E can also help the immune system, he says, noting that vegetable oils, such as sunflower and safflower oils, nuts and seeds, are the best sources of this important vitamin. Vitamin C, specifically, is a powerful antioxidant that can help reduce the effect of oxidative damage caused by pollution, stress, or poor diet.

Astaxanthin, the most powerful carotenoid naturally found in a wide range of fish and shellfish such as salmon, trout, shrimp, as well as plankton and krill, is an orange-red pigment produced mainly by algae. Food is the best source for obtaining the antioxidants needed in the diet, and there are no problems with the safety of antioxidants obtained from food sources. Similarly, the flavonoid antioxidants found in berries, such as blueberries or grapes (they are also excellent sources of the antioxidant resveratrol), may be especially beneficial for maintaining vision in old age. Present at high levels in vegetable oils (and, therefore, in oilseeds), vitamin E occurs naturally in eight different forms, the best known and most powerful of which is alpha-tocopherol.