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Nutrition, Diet and Supplements Discuss nutrition, diet, cutting and weight loss. Supplement discussions as well.

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Old 12-30-2011, 02:01 PM   #1
Rich Knapp
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Antioxidants are plentiful in plant foods, particularly those that have bright colours. As of May, 2005, the most comprehensive study of the antioxidant content of common foods that I know of was published in the June 2004 edition of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. According to this study, the 20 most antioxidant-rich foods are as follows:

Rank Food Serving Size Antioxidant Capacity per Serving

1 Small red beans, dried 1/2 cup 13727
2 Wild blueberries 1 cup 13427
3 Red kidney beans, dried 1/2 cup 13259
4 Pinto beans 1/2 cup 11864
5 Blueberries, cultivated 1 cup 9019
6 Cranberries 1 cup 8983
7 Artichoke hearts, cooked 1 cup 7904
8 Blackberries 1 cup 7701
9 Dried prunes 1/2 cup 7291
10 Raspberries 1 cup 6058
11 Strawberries 1 cup 5938
12 Red delicious apple One 5900
13 Granny Smith apple One 5381
14 Pecans 1 ounce 5095
15 Sweet cherries 1 cup 4873
16 Black plum One 4844
17 Russet potato, cooked One 4649
18 Black beans 1/2 cup 4181
19 Plum One 4118
20 Gala apple One 3903

The highest ranked foods in four major categories are as follows:

Fruits: blueberries, cranberries, and blackberries.

Vegetables: beans, artichoke hearts, and surprisingly, russet potatoes.

Nuts: pecans, walnuts, and hazelnuts.

Spices: cinnamon, oregano, and ground cloves.

Here are a few points to keep in mind when choosing antioxidant-rich foods:

Because there are many different types of antioxidants that can protect your tissues from different types of damage, it is best to eat a wide range of antioxidant-rich foods.
How much you benefit from the antioxidants found in the foods you eat depends on how well you breakdown and absorb these foods.
One of the best ways of making sure that you are getting plenty of antioxidants in your diet is to strive to eat lots of fresh vegetables. If you just don't have the time to eat a large green salad every day, consider buying a good juicer and drinking a fresh vegetable juice on a daily basis. Another more convenient option is to use a high quality super green food product.
It is best to limit the amount of sweet fruits that you eat according to your dental health and blood sugar and insulin levels. If you haven't already, please read my article on the dangers of eating too much fruit.
When washing and preparing vegetables and fruits, be sure to wash non-organic varieties with extra care to help remove pesticide residues. This is especially important for vegetables and fruits that are known to be heavily contaminated with pesticides.

Raw chocolate and goji berries are two foods that are extremely rich in antioxidants but were not evaluated for the study cited above.



Here are the key reasons why eating raw chocolate is good for your health:

Raw chocolate is naturally rich in flavonoids, which are natural nutrients with antioxidant properties - the same nutrients that make berries, grapes, and green tea health-promoting foods.

Flavonoids that are abundant in raw chocolate can protect your cells against damage by free radicals, which can help to prevent premature aging.

Flavonoids in raw chocolate are good for your heart, as they can help to prevent stickiness of platelets, which are cells that play an important role in blood clotting.

Flavonoids can help your body produce nitric oxide, a compound that promotes a healthy cardiovascular system.

Before you make conventional chocolate bars a staple in your diet, it's important to understand that the health benefits of chocolate are mainly due to its rich flavonoid content. And the more chocolate is processed, the fewer flavonoids it retains. Fewer flavonoids translates to less antioxidant content and less potential health benefits.

If you want to eat chocolate to optimally support your health, your best choice is raw, organic chocolate that has no added ingredients like sugar, milk, and oil. Your next best choice is dark chocolate with 70 percent or more cocoa content, but this ranks a distant second to raw chocolate, since conventional dark chocolate bars are exposed to significant heat and processing. The worst choices are milk and white chocolate. Most varieties of milk chocolate have only about 25 to 50 percent the flavonoid content of dark chocolate, and white chocolate has no flavonoids.

The antioxidant content of different foods is measured by what's called the ORAC test; the higher the ORAC value for a food, the greater its antioxidant content. Here is a list of ORAC values for foods that are known to be rich in antioxidants, as calculated by the United States Department of Agriculture and the Journal of the American Chemical Society:

Dark chocolate 13,120
Milk chocolate 6,740
Prunes 5,770
Raisins 2,830
Blueberries 2,400
Blackberries 2,036
Kale 1,770
Strawberries 1,540
Spinach 1,260
Raspberries 1,220
Brussels sprouts 980
Plums 949
Alfalfa sprouts 930
Broccoli 890

Beyond its value as a food that is super-rich in antioxidants, raw chocolate is also abundant in the following health-promoting nutrients:

Serotonin (3 mg per 100 g) and tyramine (2 mg per 100 g) - both are capable of creating a mild calming effect.

Copper (0.8 mg per 100 g) - needed for energy production, proper nerve signaling, optimal bone health, and formation of healthy connective tissue in your heart and blood vessels.

Phenylethylamine (PEA) - can help to promote mental alertness and focus. It is also thought to combat feelings of depression, and is released within your brain when you are in love.

Magnesium (131 mg per 100 g) - is needed for healthy bones and teeth, energy production, and optimal heart, nerve, and muscle health. Magnesium levels tend to be low during menstruation, which may explain why some women tend to crave chocolate on a periodic basis.
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Old 01-06-2012, 02:01 PM   #2
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My tea that I have been drinking is packed with antioxidants. I drink it mainly for this reason.
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Old 01-06-2012, 03:45 PM   #3
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Man I love me some artichoke hearts dipped in butter! Haven't had them since I was a wee lad.
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