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Natural foods are just loaded with anti-oxidants - probably because all living organisms need anti-oxidants.
Anti-oxidants are substances which soak up the highly damaging free radicals that are constantly being produced as our bodies metabolize food and go about their "routines".
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Anti-oxidants are lost when food goes through industrial processing.  Lately, more products have been coming out with anti-oxidants added-but why add them when they are in food naturally? Perhaps I'm being too simplistic-but why take them out in the first place?

Natural foods are full of anti-oxidants: a list of foods and specific antioxidants

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has developed a rating scale that measures the antioxidant content of various plant foods. The scale is called the Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity or ORAC.  The higher the ORAC value is, the greater the amounts of anti-oxidants.   The ORAC values are basically a guideline to help you choose the foods which have the greatest amounts of anti-oxidants and are for comparison purposes.

A list of foods and specific antioxidants and the best food source for them

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Selenium

Highest amounts are found in parsley, blackstrap molasses, mushrooms, nuts, salmon and other seafood, sesame seeds, vegetables, wheat germ, chicken, nettles, yarrow, raspberry leaf, garlic and whole grains.

Zinc

Highest amounts are found in raw, hulled pumpkin seeds and other nuts, oatmeal, eggs, parsley, and wheat germ.

Vitamin E

Highest amounts are found in wheat germ (oil or fresh), eggs, nuts, leafy green vegetables, soy products, vegetable oils, and berries.

Vitamin C

Highest amounts are found in broccoli, strawberries, tomatoes, citrus fruits, rose hips, fresh fruits and vegetables of all kinds, parsley and nettles.

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Beta-carotenes and Vitamin A

Highest amounts are found in the bright-colored fruits and vegetables! These include carrots, squash, broccoli, dark, leafy greens, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, kale, parsley, collards, cantaloupe, watermelon, nettle leaf, eggs, mangos, peaches and apricots.

Alpha-lipoic acid

Highest amounts in meat.  Alpha lipoic acid is an omega-3 fatty acid.  It is used not only as an anti-oxidant, but also is used to treat diabetic as well as other types of peripheral neuropathy - where the arms and legs may feel tingly, numb or burning.

Astaxanthin

Gives salmon its pink color and is a carotenoid, like the beta-carotenes.

CoQ10

Highest amounts in fish, beef, peanuts and spinach. CoQ10 is also known as ubiquinone because it is ubiquitous - that is, it is found in all cells, mainly in the mitochondria - those cellular organelles that in high school, we used to call the "powerhouse of the cell". CoQ10 is needed for energy production.  One important point here - many statins, the drugs used to lower cholesterol, deplete the cells of CoQ10, so many people on statins should consider taking CoQ10 as a supplement.

Glutathione 

Glutathione  is a very powerful anti-oxidant found naturally in every cell. The problem as a supplement is that glutathione is not very well absorbed - so your best bet is to take the other substances that help boost your own production of glutathione.  These include alpha-lipoic acid, B vitamins, the herb milk thistle (which helps the liver make glutathione) and a substance called NAC- or N-acetyl cysteine.

Cysteine

Highest amounts in eggs, meat and dairy. Cysteine can be used by your body to make NAC.

Superoxide Dismutase

This is an enzyme that repairs the damage done by the free radicals.  It is best absorbed through foods such as barley grass, broccoli, wheat grass, cabbage, Brussels sprouts and most green vegetables.
  • http://www.ars.usda.gov/sp2userfiles/place/12354500/data/orac/orac07.pdf (Accessed 10/10)
  • http://oracvalues.com/ (Accessed 10/10)
  • Nuttall S, Martin U, Sinclair A, Kendall M. 1998. Glutathione: httpin sickness and in health. The Lancet 351(9103):645-646.
  • De Rosa SC, Zaretsky MD, Dubs JG, Roederer M, Anderson M, Green A, Mitra D, Watanabe N, Nakamura H, Tjioe I, Deresinski SC, Moore WA, Ela SW
  • Parks D, Herzenberg LA, Herzenberg LA. N-acetylcysteine replenishes glutathione in HIV infection. Eur J Clin Invest. 2000 Oct,30(10):915-29

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