Açaí to Zucchini: antioxidant food rankings

Acai to Zucchini

In honor of Chinese New Year (of the dragon), today’s NutritionFacts.org video-of-the-day Dragon’s Blood wraps up a ten-part series based on a groundbreaking study that measured the total Antioxidant Content of 3,139 foods, beverages, herbs, and spices.

Antioxidant Power of Plant Foods Versus Animal Foods presents the best bird’s eye view. Researchers separated out plant from animal products to help deal with the overwhelming volume of data (138 pages worth) and see what this amazing body of work has to say about what we should eat in general.

For more specifics, see Best Berries, which compares hundreds of berries to common fruits, and Better Than Green Tea?, which contrasts the antioxidant power of popular rival beverages. Better Than Goji Berries and Dried Apples Versus Cholesterol pick out the best dried fruits and Antioxidants in a Pinch and A Better Breakfast can help one visualize the effects of adding just tiny amounts of antioxidant-packed foods to our daily diets.

For some background on the role of antioxidants in disease prevention, Mitochondrial Theory of Aging offers a quick primer. Some questions, however, may remain:

Just because a food can quench an oxidation reaction in a test tube, does that necessarily mean it will do the same in our cells? Find out in tomorrow’s video-of-the-day.  Is it really worth going out of our way to make higher antioxidant choices? Isn’t it enough just to eat lots of fruits and vegetables—does it really matter which ones? Find out on Friday, Monday, and Tuesday. In other words—stay tuned to NutritionFacts.org! Keep up with my daily videos by subscribing to the RSS feed, following on facebook or twitter, or just checking back every morning around 8am Eastern.

In health,
– Michael Greger, M.D.

Image credit: geishaboy500 / Flickr

  • Thea

    Once again, another awesome summary. I love taking these paragraphs/types of blog posts and giving them to people. This way I don’t have to try to combine all the videos of a theme myself – and probably end up missing some.

    Your teaser about upcoming videos is a killer. I can’t wait!

  • Dr Greger, great job. Well summarized, short enough to be shared with lay people. Cheers. Fil

  • foodlover

    Thanks a lot for the very informative summary. Antioxidant rich foods are very important in our body for the defense against sickness as it strengthen our defense system. You may also check our health info here:http://eatrightamerica.com

  • cloa513

    How about for foods especially only available in Japan- I have only one pay-walled study such as horenso, gobo? Japan is poor for availability of a lot of foods listed in the study.

  • Wholesale Nuts

    Dr Greger, great job. Thanks for this great blogs..

  • Doug Fruitarky

    Dear Dr. Greger, Why do plants have these antioxidants and other phyto chemicals that help us? Do plants use these to fight their own nemeses, defects and diseases? What does science know and not know about their functions in the plants that we eat and don’t eat and how similar are these to our own bodies?

  • melliforte

    Today I saw a new product on the shelf at my local health food store: lucuma powder. It is being promoted as having many healthful benefits: http://www.livestrong.com/article/479259-benefits-of-lucuma-powder/, but I am wondering if the hype around it is justified by any research.

    • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

      Could be just hype. I found 4 studies conducted on animals, which cannot translate to humans. Looks like it contains essential fats, so to me so long as you cover essential fatty acids in the diet no one “needs” this product.

  • Ren

    Hi Dr. Greger, appreciate all your work. There’s been a lot of bad news about antioxidants recently. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2015/10/14/antioxidants-may-give-a-boost-to-cancer-cells-making-them-spread-faster-study-suggests/
    Should people be concerned about how much they ingest? Thanks very much. -Ren