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Antioxidant Content of 300 Foods

Ranking foods by antioxidants per serving.

September 19, 2008 |
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Supplementary Info

Sources Cited

Acknowledgements

Transcript

Are you ready, for the top dozen antiaging, anticancer, antioxidant superfoods?!

To start with some perspective, here’s the average antioxidant content of much of what Americans eat—peas and carrots, corn, lettuce, bananas—just as a reference.

Let’s go in reverse order for the top dozen superfoods, starting with #12, a tablespoon of cocoa powder. So 1 Tb. Of cocoa poweder blows away half of what Americans eat, so by making your breakfast smoothie a chocolate breakfast smoothie by adding cocoa powder you’re dramatically increasing the nutrient value. #11, a half cup of blueberries—blueberries didn’t even make the top ten this year! How about a countdown? Give me a “ten”--(10) a pomegranate, (9) one black plum, (8) a handful of pecans, (7) one pear, (6) half cup cranberries, (5) an apple, (4) a teaspoon of cinnamon, (3) an artichoke, (2) half cup ‘o goji berries, and… (1) if you were given the choice to eat a single serving of any food on the planet, in terms of antioxidant power, you wouldn’t be going to the Himalayas for Gojis, you’d be gong to… Brazil Good god, way off the charts, nearly 75,000, a half cup serving of acai berries.

You can pretty much walk into any big natural food store, go to the frozen section, and buy a pound of acai berries , but it may be 5 or 10 bucks! Is it worth it? So in terms of practicality, I calculated ranking foods not only antioxidants per serving, but antioxidants per dollar.

Pecans, over 8,000 antioxidant units per dollar. Great bargain, but apples are even better. Goji berries—super antioxidant packed, but so expensive, for the same price you could get more antioxidants in cranberries, or artichokes, here’s where acai comes in. So you stare at a $5 or 10 package of frozen acai pulp at Whole Foods and you think about the great smoothies you could make with that, but 10 bucks?! It’s worth it. If you’re willing to buy an apple a day to keep people like me away, it’s even a better bargain to go for superfood number one (five-to-ten times more expensive per pound of apples), but about 20 times more antioxidants so it makes sense in the end.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Dianne Moore.

To help out on the site please email volunteer@nutritionfacts.org

Dr. Michael Greger
  • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/adamholt/ adamholt

    Thanks for all the videos- in a quick search, there’s one thing that I haven’t seen so far, and that’s a general anti-oxidant video. In other words, it’s one thing to inhibit oxidation in a lab and another to demonstrate value in people. If you have any great insights into that more basic topic, I’d very much appreciate it. Thanks again!

    • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/mgreger/ Michael Greger M.D.

      That is an excellent point! These videos are taken from my Latest in Clinical Nutrition DVD series, and as such talk more about the cutting-edge work and may neglect some of the basics. I do cover antioxidant fundamentals in my Stopping Cancer DVD. May be too large to upload for this site, but I’ll try to get it up on youtube.

  • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/myjolina/ Laura Scalia

    what happened to the red cabbage that was rated as number one, in a previous video?
    Where does red cabbage stand now?

  • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/evanbrand/ evanbrand

    What is the optimal way to get acai in the US?

    is monavie (see monavie.com juice) and other acai juieces denatured and therefore unhelpful for getting the maximum/optimal ORAC/antioxidants?

    Is frozen acai (like sambozan) ineffective (freezing fruit compromises the cell wall, etc)? If so, what is currently on the market for acai (bioavailable, etc)

    • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/toxins/ Toxins

      Hello evan,

      Check out Genesis Today Acai juice from your local whole foods or other health store. Or, buy online! They use the entire acai fruit rather then just squeezing out its juice. I have used it in the past and its good quality.

      Its important that the whole fruit is used because juicing is not nearly as beneficial: http://nutritionfacts.org/videos/fruit-juice-fail/

  • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/evanbrand/ evanbrand

    hit the ‘return” key too quickly on previous post. please pardon…

    What acai option in the market/grocery offers optimal antioxidants/ORAC?

    Are acai juices effective?

    Are acai frozen packs effective?

  • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/anne30/ Anne30

    Hi Dr. Greger,
    I would love to get a sample of the daily meal plans that you have. This would be helpful in guiding us in maximizing the nutrients and anti-oxidants that we consume. Have you ever published such samples?
    Thanks,
    Anne

  • Michael Greger M.D.
  • DarkRyder

    my blood sugar is 80 and i think my blood pressure Was 120 over 48 i think just by EEating Super,Ultra,Alkaline Organic Plus HIGH AntiOxidant Foods & Water ONLY and i just came from my doctors like Novemeber 21 2012 On A Wednesday And My Weight is DOWN Frommm 291 Pounds To 271 Pounds and I Just Lost 20lbs In A MONTH DOCC :)

  • DarkRyder

    if you eat Organic chava dark chocolate plus Antioxidant And each Pieace of dark Chocolate has 37,100 Per Choclate AntiOxidant And If You Eat 3 Of Them 37,100 X 3= 111,300 HIGH AntiOxidants Chava Dark Chocolate…I Mite Be Wrong Doc….

  • http://www.facebook.com/zzgorme Greg Orme

    It reminds me of the old joke about a newspaper headline, Someone thought it was a killer rampaging at the supermarket. “Artichokes two for a dollar at the supermarket”. (Arty chokes)

  • lovestobevegan

    The perfect recipe to incorporate the number one anticancer vegetable
    (http://nutritionfacts.org/video/1-anticancer-vegetable/), and two of the top dozen antioxidant rich foods into your diet. Enjoy antioxidant-rich pears and cinnamon (ranked 4th place) in this delicious soup.

    Butternut Squash, Parsnip, and Pear Soup

    -1 large butternut squash, ½ inch dice
    -2 cups parsnip, ½ inch dice
    -1 medium red onion, diced
    -1 bunch green onions, sliced
    -2 cloves garlic, minced
    -½ cup red lentils
    -2 large pears, ½ inch dice
    -½ tsp paprika
    -1 tsp Ceylon cinnamon (http://nutritionfacts.org/video/the-safer-cinnamon/)
    -6 cups water/home-made vegetable stock
    -sea salt

    Roast diced butternut squash dry (without oil) at 400°F until tender and slightly browned, about 45 minutes. Meanwhile, bring water/stock to a boil and add all other ingredients except pears, and salt. Lower heat and simmer until parsnips, onions, and lentils are cooked, about 30 minutes. Add pear and continue cooking until pear has softened. Add roasted squash and cooked 5 minutes longer. Season to taste with sea salt.

    • http://nutritionfacts.org/ Michael Greger M.D.

      Sounds delicious! Thank you for sharing. Anyone else have any recipes to share?

      • rady

        Where does clove rank in this top antioxidants chart base by per servings..? Can it budge to the top 3 spot?

  • Harvey Mitchell

    How does the Chilean Maqui berry stack up?

  • Gwendelyn

    For those looking to buy Acai or Ceylon cinnamon, I just found this site that looks very promising: https://www.mountainroseherbs.com
    Primarily organic, lots of great products, and great bulk discounting.
    I just purchased >13 lbs of herbs, spices, berries, and the like from them which will save me big time at the local stores (whole foods and the like)

    I’d really like to know how Bilberry, Barberry, and Maqui berry stack up compared to the others!

  • Ken

    I’d like to plant a “black plum” in my yard, but I’m having trouble finding any cultivars with such a name. Any info on back plum varieties?

  • brux

    Dr. Greger, thank you so much for these excellent and informative videos.

    I now understand that anti-oxidants counteract the effects of free radicals in the body … what I am curious about is if there is some kind of balance … that is, can you tip the scale too far the other way by eating too many anti-oxidants and could that be a problem? Could too many or too much concentration of anti-oxidants cause a problem?

    Also, apples, pears and plums are good anti-oxidants, but can you get those anti-oxidant by juicing fresh fruit in a juicer, or blending in a blender. Would you get more anti-oxidant density by juicing just the skins of the apple for example instead of the insides which is just mostly sugar. I saw one health fanatic in a documentary who just ate apples skins … would that work and would it work by juicing … by blending or both?

  • Jesse Manderson

    doesn’t raw cacao pretty much blow all of these away?

  • Swedish wife

    My husband has a diagnosed Pylycytemia Vera. He takes a cytostaticum “Hydrea”. Is it true that an antiocidant, Q10, makes the cytostatikum less effektive? He would benefit taking Q10 for his heart. He is 76 years old and really in “good shape” after all.

  • His Swedish wife

    My husband has a diagnosed Polycytemia Vera. Is it true that an antioxidant Q10 could make his treatment with the cytostaticum “Hydrea” less effective? How would you have treated him? Otherwise he is in “good shape” Kindest regards! / His Swedish wife