Antioxidants protect our body’s cells from being damaged. Your body has its own defenses, however antioxidants are also found in food, especially fruits, vegetables and other plant based foods. Blueberries are notorious for their antioxidant content, but they’re not the only ones! Read more below for other antioxidant-rich options.
“Antioxidants protect our body’s healthy cells from being damaged,” explains Roxana Ehsani, MS, RD, CSSD, LDN, registered dietitian nutritionist and National Media Spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “Our bodies are exposed to free radicals daily, which are the harmful substances that attack healthy cells. And when these healthy cells become weak and damaged, we are more prone to disease and cancers.”
Antioxidants are found in nutritious foods like fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds. And berries are one of the most antioxidant-rich fruits in the produce department.
Specifically, blueberries are notorious for their high antioxidant content. According to Ehsani, they contain 9.2 mmol per 100 grams.
So the next time you’re at the grocery store, make sure you grab some blueberries, as well as these 11 foods that have more antioxidants than blueberries.
9 Foods With More Antioxidants Than Blueberries
1. Dark chocolate
Antioxidants per serving: 15 mmol per 100 grams
“Dark chocolate has a high cocoa content, which provides us a rich source of antioxidants, dietary fiber and minerals,” says Ehsani. “Choose at least 70% chocolate or higher to gain those antioxidant-rich benefits! Dark chocolate also has heart-healthy benefits, it’s known for improving blood flow, reducing blood pressure and raising healthy HDL cholesterol levels.”
Ehsani also notes that you should be careful of portion size, as dark chocolate is high in fat.
“Choosing a small square or two can still provide you with a dose of antioxidants,” she says.
Antioxidants per serving: 10.6 mmol per 100g
“Pecans make an easy and filling snack,” says Valerie Agyeman, RD, LDN, registered dietitian and host of the Flourish Heights Podcast. “They are full of healthy fats and protein. Add these to a salad, dessert, yogurt, or eat them plain as a snack on the go.”
Antioxidants per serving: 22 mmol per 100g
“Not only are walnuts rich in omega-3 anti-inflammatory fats, but they also are rich in disease-fighting antioxidants too,” says Ehsani. “Walnuts are one of the few nuts that provide our bodies with a good source of essential omega-3s (an essential fat we need to consume more), which contains heart healthy benefits, anti-inflammatory benefits, antioxidants and can be beneficial for our brain health too!”
Antioxidants per serving: 9 mmol per 100g
“Fresh pomegranates are a great source of Vitamin C, which also serves as an antioxidant,” says Agyeman. “This vitamin supports normal growth and repair in our skin, ligaments, and blood vessels. Removing the pomegranate seeds from the fruit can make for a fresh and easy snack.”
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Antioxidants per serving: 16 mmol per 100g
“Coffee lovers will be so happy to hear that espresso is high in antioxidants! Roasted coffee beans even contain higher amounts of antioxidants per 100g, providing 22 mmol of antioxidants,” says Ehsani. “So whether you’re eating roasted coffee beans potentially dipped in 70% dark chocolate with your shot of espresso, [the] good news is both are providing you with a great source of antioxidants.”
She also notes that drinking coffee regularly has been linked to lower risk for developing diabetes and reduces inflammation.
Antioxidants per serving: 139.9 mmol per 100g
7. Dried blackberries
Antioxidants per serving: 48 mmol per 100g
Researchers found that dried berries, not only fresh, are an excellent source of antioxidants too.
“Dried blackberries contain one of the highest amounts of antioxidants,” says Ehsani. “They also are rich in dietary fiber, and minerals like manganese, vitamin C and vitamin K. Dried blackberries are the perfect travel snack, as you don’t have to worry about them going bad as quickly as fresh berries, and they are perfect when fresh berries are not in season.”
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Antioxidants per serving: 142.6 mmol per 100g
Along with its high antioxidant level, mint contains a high amount of vitamin A, a fat-soluble vitamin which supports eye health,” says Agyeman. “Try using mint to make a homemade pesto sauce for your next pasta night or make a refreshing mojito mocktail.”
9. Dried herbs and spices like cloves, allspice, and oregano
Antioxidants per serving: up to 277 mmol per 100g
There are also many dried herbs and spices that are antioxidant-rich sources, including cloves, allspice, and oregano.
“Sprinkling a variety of spices on your meals throughout the day, can help you reap those antioxidant benefits. Dried herbs and spices, also are great to start incorporating more of for those watching their salt intake,” says Ehsani. “You won’t miss the salt once you start sprinkling flavorful spices and herbs onto your plate, great for people with high blood pressure or people with diabetes.”
When shopping for spices, look for ones that are bold in color.
“Be sure to look for brightly colored spices. Ones that look dull or have expired—yes, spices have an expiration date—have likely lost some of their antioxidant power, too,” adds Ehsani.