Sometimes the best antioxidant rich foods can be the most unexpected. Blueberries may be the poster children for antioxidant rich foods but what little of us know is that the humble bean may be an antioxidant powerhouse candidate.
A new study suggests that beans may well join the antioxidant rich foods family that includes the likes of berries, spices, and potatoes. To date, the largest and most advanced analysis of the antioxidant rich foods shows that disease-fighting antioxidants may be found in the most unlikely fruits and vegetables. Beans, artichokes, and even Russet potato can be rich antioxidant powerhouses as well.
Researchers particularly found that small red beans are among the top antioxidant rich foods in the bean category. In fact, they were shows to contain more disease-fighting antioxidants than both wild and cultivated blueberries combined. Blueberries have always been known to contain a rich amount of antioxidants and have been heralded in recent years of its high antioxidant content. With this new study however, it looks as though the small red bean is snatching away the spotlight.
Other antioxidant rich foods that the study focused on include nuts and spices, such as ground cloves, cinnamon, and oregano. What kept these foods away from the antioxidant-consuming public for long is that they are generally consumed in much smaller amounts than fruits and vegetables.
The study used updated technology to assess the antioxidant content of more than 100 foods, including fruits, vegetables, cereals, breads, nuts, and spices. Each food was analyzed for antioxidant concentration and ranked according to antioxidant capacity per serving size.Cranberries, blueberries, and blackberries were ranked highest among the fruits studied. Beans, artichokes, and Russet potatoes were tops among the vegetables. In addition, pecans, walnuts, and hazelnuts were the winners in the nut category, and ground cloves, cinnamon, and oregano were the top three antioxidant rich foods in the spice category.
However, researchers noted that the total antioxidant capacity of antioxidant rich foods does not necessarily reflect their potential health benefits. It seems that a big factor in the health benefit of antioxidants is what happens in the digestion and absorption process.
In the recent years, antioxidant rich foods have been credited with helping prevent and even cure a majority of diseases which are said to have been caused primarily by harmful free radicals that attack healthy, normal cells. By destroying this free radicals, antioxidants not only stop the free radical chain reaction but repair damaged cells as well. Antioxidants have been linked to the treatment of such disorders as cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease.