Summer is slowly fading into fall, and those delightful antioxidant-rich berries are also becoming harder to come by. Outside of these delicious berries and fruits, where else can we find antioxidants that will last us through the bleak winter months?
6 Year-Round Food Sources of Antioxidants
Also known as the “Forbidden Rice” in ancient China, black rice has recently been shown to be a great source of anthocyanins, a type of antioxidant. According to a recent news release from Louisiana State University researchers, a spoonful of black rice bran actually contains more antioxidants than a spoonful of blueberries. Since black rice bran can be added to breakfast cereals, cakes, cookies, and other baked goods, it can be an inexpensive way to boost antioxidant content.
Spices and Herbs
Spices and herbs are wondrous. Not only are they capable of bringing a dish alive, they are also chock-full of antioxidants. Surprisingly, spices actually have a much higher ORAC value per gram than most fruits and vegetables. The top contestants are cinnamon, cloves, oregano, turmeric, parsley, ginger, and garlic. Indeed, the possibilities for using them in your food are endless.
Dark Chocolate or Cocoa
“Mmmm” is people’s most common reaction to a piece of dark chocolate. From the sensation of it coating your tongue to the bittersweet flavor it offers, few people can resist the decadence of dark chocolate. The good news is, devouring a square of fine dark chocolate, enjoying a cup of hot chocolate (or cocoa), or sprinkling cocoa powder on your latte can all add catechins and phenols (types of antioxidants) to your day.
Although we won’t be able to enjoy as many varieties of fresh fruits in the winter months, we can take advantage of beverages derived from fruits for antioxidants. A glass of red wine a day is a well-known way to get phenols, and concord grape juice is another great way, as it ranks the highest in antioxidant activity among 13 juices tested. If you crave a hot beverage, you can always count on green tea (especially matcha) to provide you with an abundance of catechins.
Beans and Lentils
People unanimously agree that beans and lentils are the most unglamourous nutrition powerhouse. But besides being a stellar source of fiber, folate, and protein content, colorful beans and lentils are also terrific sources of antioxidants. Half a cup of beans (such as kidney beans and black beans) has roughly the same amount of antioxidants as a cup of brewed green tea.
Nuts seems to show up wherever a health benefit is mentioned. These little wonders make great snacks and pack in a ton of nutrition. Pecans and walnuts in particular are superb sources of antioxidants. The ORAC score of 19 pecan halves is higher than half a cup of pomegranate juice. That’s one more reason to enjoy more nuts!
The Bottom Line
You really don’t have to purchase expensive supplements or exotic juices to get your antioxidants. Look no further – we are surrounded by plenty of inexpensive sources of antioxidants that you can count on all year long.
- All About Cocoa Powder
- Chocolate 101: Dark, Fair-trade, Organic, and More – Podcast
- How Do Chocolate Products Stack Up, Nutritionally?
- Health Benefits of Chocolate
- Spices and Herbs: Unexpected Sources of Antioxidants
Owennie is a registered dietitian with a soft spot for chocolate and coffee. She is a believer in balance and moderation, and is committed to keeping healthy eating enjoyable and fun. Owennie received her dietetics training in Vancouver, and is a member of Dietitians of Canada and the College of Dietitians of British Columbia. She has experience in a wide variety of settings, such as clinical nutrition, long-term care and outpatient counseling. Owennie has also worked for a community nutrition hotline and participated regularly as a guest radio host, where she enjoyed sharing her passion and knowledge about food and nutrition with people.