In the most extensive study of its kind ever published, the amount of anti-aging anticancer antioxidants is measured across thousands of different foods.
In the beginning, blueberries were the best. Then walnuts took the title, then wild blueberries took it back, then small red beans were the #1 most antioxidant packed foods… until herbs and spices were tested.
I frankly thought it was over in 2007. Remember, USDA had released a database of 277 foods. When only 40 foods were tested blueberries were #1, but when hundreds of foods were tested blueberries, no longer even made the top ten. I ranked them for you by serving size, and by cost, antioxidant bang for your buck. Mission accomplished, until, last year.
“The total antioxidant content of more than 3,000 foods, beverages, spices, herbs and supplements used worldwide. The most comprehensive ever, by far. Are there even 3000 foods out there? Just looking at the first page the 138 page chart of their data, you know you're in for a wild ride when they don't just include something like gooseberries, whatever those are, or Indian Gooseberries, or indian gooseberries in a can, but even the antioxidant power of the syrup in the can of the Indian gooseberries.
The tested 30 different beers, for those who stay up all night wondering if there’s more antioxidants in Coors or Bud Light? The answer? Miller by a hair. But nothing compared to Santa Claus beer from Austria, which put Guinness and the rest to shame. Don’t laugh, the standard American diet is so pitiful that beer represents the 5th largest source of antioxidants in the United States.
They measured Cap’n Crunch, the antioxidant content of tootsie rolls, everything from Kirspy Kreme to the crushed dried leaves of the African Boabab tree. The skin of an organic lemon. , Norwegian jungle dessert. It took them 8 years to compile this data.
With 3,139 foods tested you can get as nitty gritty as you want. Like those new gold kiwis, do they have more antioxidants than the regular green kiwis? About three times as much! This body of work can help us decide hundreds of real-life grocery store decisions we make all the time, but it’s easy to get lost in the details. Let’s take a step back, which is what the researchers did. What does this body of work say about what we should eat, in general?
The first thing they did, table 1, was to split it into plant foods versus animal foods. Heres plant foods. Here’s animal foods. On average, plant foods have 64 times more antioxidants than meat, fish, eggs, and dairy. This represents a powerful argument to eat a plant-based diet. Everytime you eat something in this column, you miss out on an opportunity to eat something in this column. Animal foods max out at 100, plant foods go to 289,000.
Quoting from the conclusion: “rich foods originate from the plant kingdom while meat, fish and other foods from the animal kingdom are low in antioxidants…. Diets comprised mainly of animal- based foods are thus low in antioxidant content while diets based mainly on a variety of plant-based foods are antioxidant rich, due to the thousands of bioactive anti- oxidant phytochemicals found in plants which are conserved in many foods and beverages.”
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.
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For more context, check out my associated blog posts: Treating COPD With Diet, The last heart attack, Acai to Zucchini: antioxidant food rankings , Kiwi Fruit for Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Hibiscus tea: flower power, NutritionFacts.org: the first month, Top 10 Most Popular Videos of the Year, Ergothioneine: A New Vitamin?, The Science of Acai Berries, and Hibiscus Tea: The Best Beverage