Antioxidants in Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits antioxidantsAntioxidants have been found to help the body stay healthy. These substances are said to protect the body from the effects of free radicals which are the by products of harmful oxygen molecules.

Free radicals can cause damage to cells that may also lead to cancer. The free radicals are formed by normal body processes as by products.  But their production may be further worsened by smoking, air pollution, too much sunlight or certain infections.

Antioxidants work by trying to stop these free radicals from forming carcinogens in the body. They also help block the certain functions of carcinogens as well as help suppress cancer development. Antioxidants are usually found in most fruits and vegetables. Antioxidants help protect the body against oxidation that causes cellular damage. Familiar antioxidant substances include vitamin C, vitamin E and beta carotene.

A study from the Tuft University in Boston has tried to rank the antioxidant values of fruits and vegetables by using the analysis method called ORAC or Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity. This type of test tube analysis measures the antioxidant powers of foods, notably fruits and vegetables. Here is a list of top scoring fruits and vegetables according to their ORAC numbers per 100 gram serving.

Fruits:

  • Prunes – 5570
  • Raisins – 2830
  • Blueberries – 2400
  • Blackberries – 2036
  • Strawberries – 1540
  • Raspberries – 1220
  • Plums – 949
  • Oranges – 750
  • Red grapes – 739
  • Cherries – 670
  • Kiwi fruit – 602
  • Grapefruit, pink – 483

Vegetables:

  • Kale – 11770
  • Spinach – 11260
  • Brussels sprout – 1980
  • Alfalfa sprouts – 1930
  • Broccoli Flowers – 1890
  • Beets – 1840
  • Red bell pepper – 1710
  • Onion – 1450
  • Corn – 1400
  • Eggplant – 1390