Healthy Family | Home Safety | Health and Wealth | Relationship Issues | Career Advice | Growing Family
Get the SixWise e-Newsletter FREE!
Google Web
Free Newsletter Subscription
Get the Web's Most trusted & Informative Health, Wealth, Safety & More Newsletter -- FREE!


Share Email to a Friend Print This

Six Disease-Fighting Super Antioxidants You are Likely Not Getting Enough Of

Your body needs antioxidants to protect your cells from damaging free radicals. These free radicals can cause oxidation in your body that, similar to rust on a car, will degrade your cells and organs leading to disease and aging. Not only do antioxidants help to prevent oxidation, but, according to the American Dietetic Association, they may also decrease your risk of infection, heart disease and cancer while boosting the function of your immune system.

We're all affected by free radicals, as they are a natural byproduct produced in your body. Exposure to environmental toxins like cigarette smoke and radiation can also increase the free radicals in your system.

Antioxidants can be vitamins, minerals or enzymes, and they exist in foods and certain supplements. Because most Americans do not eat healthy diets -- ones that include fruits, vegetables and other whole foods -- and instead eat diets rich in processed fast foods, many of us are seriously lacking in these health-giving compounds. Following are a few of the most powerful antioxidants that you should make a point to include in your diet:


Top 20 Antioxidant Foods

Looking for foods that pack a powerful antioxidant punch? These foods have the most antioxidants of all, according to a 2004 study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

  • Small red beans (dried)
  • Wild blueberries
  • Red Kidney beans
  • Pinto beans
  • Blueberries (cultivated)
  • Cranberries
  • Artichokes (cooked)
  • Blackberries
  • Prunes
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Red Delicious apples
  • Granny Smith apples
  • Pecans
  • Sweet cherries
  • Black plums
  • Russet potatoes (cooked)
  • Black beans (dried)
  • Plums
  • Gala apples

1. Ellagic acid: This compound, found in red raspberries, may be one of the most potent cancer fighters around. It's also a cancer inhibitor and is anti-mutagenic.

Research at the Hollings Cancer Center at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) found that ellagic acid slows the growth of abnormal colon cells in humans and prevents cells infected with human papilloma virus (HPV), which is linked to cervical cancer, from developing. It also promotes apoptosis, or cell death, of cancer cells without harming healthy cells, a process that may be beneficial in fighting prostate, breast, lung, esophageal and skin cancers.

Other studies have also shown that ellagic acid may fight heart disease, reduce the risk of birth defects and speed wound healing.

Where it's found: Red raspberries, pomegranate, strawberries, blueberries and walnuts.

2. Proanthocyanidins: These antioxidants, which are also called "OPCs" for oligomeric procyanidins or "PCOs" for procyanidolic oligomers, belong to the flavonoid family. They're the compounds that give red and blue fruits their color, and they've been found to strengthen capillaries, improve vision in the dark, support the integrity of vascular walls and prevent and reverse blood clotting in smokers. They also may reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer, and protect against urinary tract infections.

Where they're found: Raisins, grape seed, grape skin, bilberry, cranberry, black currant, green tea, black tea, pine bark, cocoa.

3. Glutathione: "Glutathione is a very interesting, very small molecule that's found in every cell. It's the most important antioxidant because it's within the cell," says Gustavo Bounous, MD, a retired professor of surgery at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. Along with neutralizing free radicals, glutathione may boost the immune system and help the liver remove toxins from the body.

Says glutathione expert, Jeremy Appleton, ND, chairman of the department of nutrition at the National College of Naturopathic Medicine in Portland, Ore., "If you look in a hospital situation at people who have cancer, AIDS, or other very serious disease, almost invariably they are depleted in glutathione ... we do know that glutathione is extremely important for maintaining intracellular health."

That's why glutathione has been called the "master antioxidant." "No other antioxidant is as important to overall health as glutathione. It is the regulator and regenerator of immune cells and the most valuable detoxifying agent in the human body. Low levels are associated with hepatic dysfunction, immune dysfunction, cardiac disease, premature aging and death," say Lorna R. Vanderhaeghe & Patrick J.D. Bouic, Ph.D.

Where it's found: Goat's milk, whey protein, asparagus, avocado, parsley, broccoli


Red raspberries are a great source of the antioxidant ellagic acid, which is proven to be a potent cancer fighter.

4. Polyphenols: These micronutrients represent a large category of antioxidants that include flavonoids and anthocyanidins. According to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, evidence is emerging that these compounds prevent the spread of a number of degenerative conditions, including cancer and cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases.

However, the amount that you eat, and the source, make a big difference in the benefits you receive. For instance, cooking may cause fruits and vegetables to lose polyphenol content. Research is underway to determine the best sources of polyphenols.

Where they're found: Strawberries, green tea, black tea, grape skins, red wine, onions, broccoli, greens, apples, blueberries, cocoa (most all fruits and vegetables contain some polyphenols)

5. Vitamin E: This well-known, fat-soluble vitamin may, according to the Mayo Clinic, protect against cancer, infertility and cataracts and slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease. The most popular form of vitamin E is alpha-tocopherol, however, gamma-tocopherol also appears to provide major benefits.

For instance, a study in the March 2005 Journal of the National Cancer Institute found that prostate cancer risks went down significantly with high levels of vitamin E. Specifically, men with the highest levels of alpha-tocopherol in their blood were 51 percent less likely to develop prostate cancer while those with the highest levels of gamma-tocopherol were 43 percent less likely to develop the disease.

Where it's found: Nuts, vegetable oils, wheat germ oil, green leafy vegetables

6. Carotenoids: These fat-soluble micronutrients, the most well-known of which is beta-carotene (which can be converted into vitamin A in the body), fight free radicals and inhibit and prevent cervical, oral, lung, prostate, colon, endometrial and esophageal cancers. They also:

  • Prevent lipid peroxidation, which generates free radicals
  • Enhance immune function
  • Stimulate the release of natural killer cells, which directly attack tumor cells
  • Protect cells from DNA damage

Where they're found: Red, orange, dark green and yellow fruits and vegetables, such as sweet potatoes, apricots, peaches, chard, carrots, cantaloupe, pumpkin and tomatoes. Eggs and spirulina are also good sources.

Are You Getting Enough Antioxidants?

Fruits of Life: Key Source for Top 4 Antioxidants!

Fruits of Life

Rich in antioxidant and immune-enhancing ingredients, Fruits of Life: Potent Cellular Protection fortifies your body with the top-four antioxidant foods.

Learn More About Fruits of Life Now!

Unless you eat plenty of fruits and vegetables everyday, you may not be getting enough antioxidants in your diet (along with the 85 percent of Americans who do not eat enough produce). And, if you smoke or are exposed to environmental toxins then antioxidants are particularly important.

If you want to ensure that you are getting the antioxidants your body needs, highly recommends Fruits of Life: Potent Cellular Protection.

Used and recommended by many of today's leading health experts, it is the first and only product to contain the top-four antioxidant foods on the planet in one whole food powder blend! (This is based on an Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORC) test performed at Tufts University.)

Its wide array of powerful fruit extracts and fermented goat's milk whey make this formula both unique and potent. It contains super antioxidants such as ellagic acid, proanthocyanidins, glutathione and polyphenols to help the body fight free radicals and boost the immune system. If you are interested, read more about Fruits of Life now.

And if you're looking for a quick way to get more fruits and veggies into your diet, Roberta Anding, an American Dietetic Association spokeswoman, suggests creating an antioxidant "power salad."

To make it, she says, "Put together a salad with a variety of mixed greens. Then I'd throw in some dried cranberries or blueberries from the health food store, toss in a few nuts, with a low-fat salad dressing ... choosing [fruits and vegetables] from the colors of the rainbow."


National Institutes of Health

WebMD Health

Yahoo Health News

Complimentary Alternative Health Center

Phytochemical Information Center

Benefits of Glutathione

Nutrition Advisor

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 79, No. 5, 727-747, May 2004

Mayo Clinic

To get more information about this and other highly important topics, sign up for your free subscription to our weekly "Be Safe, Live Long & Prosper" e-newsletter.

With every issue of the free newsletter, you’ll get access to the insights, products, services, and more that can truly improve your well-being, peace of mind, and therefore your life!

Share Email to a Friend Print This