For years, antioxidants have been touted as the supermarket savior of good health. The marketers are right, in a sense—antioxidant-rich foods truly are superfoods. They help to promote heart health and play a role in preventing cancer.
It was discovered back in the 1990s that people whose diets are high in antioxidants have less heart disease and fewer strokes. That’s also, not coincidentally, around the same time that the word “antioxidant” made its first appearance in advertising. Common antioxidants include vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium and beta-carotene—and the good news is they're found in TONS of foods, so you don't have to run out to a supplement store and shell out for a jar of horse pills.
We've rifled through our cupboards and raided the refrigerator to discover the best sources of natural, food-based antioxidants (some research suggests they're healthier in foods). Many of them—coffee, tea, beans and chocolate—you already buy without thinking about it, and by far the best source is fresh produce. So if you're looking to boost your antioxidants, simply fill more of your cart with fruits and veggies.
Ranking foods based on antioxidant content is a bit of an apples and oranges exercise (both of which made our list, by the way). Two oranges from the same tree can contain different amounts of vitamin C. Comparing them to apples, which contain different antioxidants is tough. Instead, we focused on foods people commonly shop for that contain antioxidants. Take a look at our slideshow, and you may be surprised to find that you don't even need to make any changes to your weekly grocery list.