With the term “antioxidants” frequently appearing on magazine covers and blog articles (like this one), we’ve all come to realize that antioxidants play an important role in our overall health. However, it may not be clear exactly what antioxidants are and how they help us.

Continue reading to learn more about these substances and what foods are high in antioxidants.

Antioxidants Defined

Antioxidants are substances that protect your body from free radical damage. Antioxidants also may boost your immunity.

While your body has its own antioxidant defenses to keep free radicals in check, antioxidants are found in food as well. They’re prevalent in fruits, vegetables, and other plant-based, whole foods.

How to Protect Your Body from Free Radicals

Free radicals can come from both natural and man-made sources, such as:

  • Substances in processed food
  • Environmental toxins such as tobacco, alcohol, and pollution
  • Chemicals your body produces by turning food into energy
  • Ultraviolet rays from the sun or tanning beds

To help fight free radicals and reduce the damage they cause, you can quit smoking (if you’re a smoker), protect yourself when out in the sun, and get antioxidants in addition to the ones produced by your body. You can get more of these substances by eating a healthy diet that includes a variety of foods high in antioxidants, including:


It’s believed that polyphenols, the antioxidant found in apples, may be a large contributing factor to the protective qualities found in apples.


Blueberries are among the best food sources of antioxidants, as they’re rich in anthocyanins and other antioxidants.


Like blueberries, raspberries are rich in anthocyanins.

Goji Berries

Goji berries are another rich source of antioxidants, including a unique type known as Lycium barbarum polysaccharides.

Green Tea

Catechins are the main antioxidants found in green tea.


While regular kale is high in antioxidants, red varieties may contain close to twice as much.


Spinach is also high in antioxidants. It’s even one of the best sources of lutein and zeaxanthin, which may protect the eyes from free radicals.


All nuts contain powerful antioxidants called polyphenols. Walnuts, pistachios, and pecans are especially high in these antioxidants per serving. The polyphenols in nuts may play a role in bone and brain health.

Eating an Antioxidant-Rich Diet

Eating a diet rich in antioxidants can help neutralize free radicals. By eating a wide variety of the foods listed above – as well as other foods rich in antioxidants – you can boost your blood levels of antioxidants and reap their many health benefits.

To further boost your antioxidant intake, supplement your diet with a multivitamin and Vitamin B-12. Also, check out our various antioxidant supplements to complement your diet.







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