Best Antioxidants for Your Hard Earned Dollar

With the economy in the position it is in right now, it sometimes is challenging to purchase the best food items in the local grocery store as the cost can be overwhelming. One great way to keep your family healthy is keeping your kitchens stocked with ‘better' antioxidant choices that will protect ourselves from aging faster than what we should.

Oxidative stress is something that affects us all. This is what causes our bodies to physically age – and in return, delivers on our doorstep cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer's and even Parkinson's disease. The culprit that pleads guilty is free radicals. Our body in theory, was designed with ways to eliminate these awful things, but in today's world of never-ending deadlines and restaurants on every corner, it struggles to be 100% efficient. That is where antioxidants come in. Antioxidants calm free radical in the body so they cannot cause unfortunate damage.

When it comes to picking an antioxidant we want to look at the antioxidant capacity the food item has. This can be measured as an ORAC value, also known as oxygen radical absorbance capacity. The U.S Department of Agriculture measured 227 selected food items and reported their results in 2007. To save you time and money, I have compiled a chart to help guide you on better, cost effective shopping cart choices.

Food (per 100g) - ORAC Value
Ground Cloves - 314,446
Ground Cinnamon - 267,536
Dried Oregano - 200,129
Ground Turmeric - 159,277
Pecans - 17,940
Ginger Root - 14,840
Red Kidney Beans - 8,459
Lentils - 7,282
Blueberries - 6,552
Plums - 6,259
Soybeans - 5,764
Raspberries - 4,882
Granny Smith Apples - 3,898
Broccoli - 3,083
Raisins, Seedless - 3,037

Looking at this chart, it may seem that a raisin is lagging far behind some ground cloves for their antioxidant capacity, but know all food items were measured using the same starting weight – 100 grams of that food. Now yes, that would indeed be many teaspoons of ground spices, but what a punch of power they hold.

Next time you are preparing that hot meal for your family, do not hesitate on adding half tsp of cloves, oregano or turmeric to the casserole dish, as it will boost your body's fighting power dramatically and literally not even cost you pennies. Another great idea (that is a personal favorite of mine), is a breakfast a smoothie with 1 cup of blueberries or raspberries with half tsp of ground cinnamon to give it that extra zing. If you are lost for salad ideas, sprinkle canned kidney beans that hold virtue as a powerful and inexpensive antioxidant, as well amazing protein and fiber. Move over free radicals – our wallets are now armored.

Learn more about Karla Heintz.

About Karla:
Karla Heintz, BSc Nutrition, is a Calgary-based TV/Radio health and wellness personality, speaker, writer and consultant for athletes and families. She is the author of ‘Picky? Not Me, Mom! - A parents' guide on children's nutrition.

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