Foods that score high in an antioxidant assay called ORAC.
Two human studies show that eating high-ORAC fruits and vegetables or simply doubling intake of fruits and vegetables—both naturally high in antioxidants—raises the antioxidant power of the blood between 13 and 25 percent. The studies are published in the Journal of Nutrition (vol. 128, pp. 2383-2390) and the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (vol. 68, pp. 1081-1087).
Early evidence for the protective power of high-ORAC foods comes from rat studies. Rats fed daily doses of blueberry extract for six weeks before being subjected to pure oxygen suffered much less damage to the capillaries in and around their lungs. In other tests, middle-aged rats were fed diets fortified with spinach or strawberry extract or vitamin E for nine months. A daily dose of spinach extract prevented some loss of long-term memory and learning ability normally experienced by 15-month-old rats. Spinach also proved most potent in protecting different types of nerve cells in two separate parts of the brain against the effects of aging, the researchers reported in the Journal of Neuroscience (vol. 18, pp. 8047-8055).
Top Antioxidant Foods
Red bell peppers
* Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity
**About 3.5 ounces