Top Antioxidant Foods and Spices
We all have antioxidants and free radicals in our body all the time. Sometimes our bodies makes its own antioxidants to fight against those free radicals, but we must get others from our foods. Other times we have to supplement the antioxidants our body makes or counter medicines and circumstances that drain those free radicals.
But free radicals aren't always bad either as most people suppose. Our liver uses free radicals to cleanse the body and free radicals are used to kill pathogens and destroy damaged cells.
The problem comes when antioxidant levels in the body are used up or otherwise not available and an imbalance occurs. Free radicals are left unchecked and are the cause of premature aging, mutated cells, and many other harmful things.
Unfortunately, our typical western diet doesn't provide as many antioxidants as it should, and so we need to think very carefully and deliberately about our diets. Exposure to chemicals, pollutants, and other things in our lifestyle can often cause the free radical balance to go completely haywire. We need to purposely consume foods that are very high in antioxidants while managing those activities that cause oxidative stress.
Many different studies have shown that living a long and healthy life, you need to consume foods that are very high in antioxidant levels. At Family Tea, we have incorporated many of these into our products, and some are available as independent ingredients for your own blending and use. Based on ORAC values* provided by Superfoodly, here are some of the top scoring foods and spices by weight:
- Cloves, ground 290283 ORAC value
- Peppermint Leaves, dried 160820 ORAC value
- Thyme Spice 157380 ORAC value
- Chaga Mushroom 146700 ORAC value
- Cinnamon Spice 131420 ORAC value
- Turmeric 127068 ORAC value
- Black Cohash 126495 ORAC value
- Licorice Root 102945 ORAC value
- Allspice, ground 100,400 ORAC value
- Rose Hips 96,150 ORAC value
- Tea Leaves 62,714 ORAC value
- Basil Spice 61,036 ORAC value
- Cocoa Powder, unsweetened 55653 ORAC value
- Cumin Seed 50372 ORAC value
- Ginko Biloba 35850 ORAC value
- Black Peppercorn 34053 ORAC value
- Astragalus Root 17773 ORAC value
- Ginger Root 14840 ORAC value
- Elderberries 14697 ORAC value
- Dandelion Greens 9666 ORAC value
To put this in perspective, realize that black grapes that are considered to be a powerhouse of antioxidants have an ORAC value of 1746
*The ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) unit, ORAC value, or “ORAC score” is a method of measuring the in vitro antioxidant capacity of different foods and supplements. More than two decades in the making, it was originally developed by scientists working at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and USDA.