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7 Antioxidant-Rich Foods to Ward off Chronic Disease

May 14, 2023

In some cases, the phrase “food is medicine” can actually be true based on what we eat, especially when it comes to eating the foods known for helping ward off chronic disease. These types of foods are rich in antioxidants, compounds that protect our cells from oxidative stress, which can cause damage to our DNA, proteins, and other cellular structures. Oxidative stress is known to play a role in chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. Thankfully, these compounds can easily be found in some of the healthy foods we like to eat every day. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health states that sources of vegetables and fruits are the best for obtaining those antioxidants over supplements, along with many other health benefits coming from these antioxidant-rich foods.

Plus, these foods are easy to access and incorporate into your diet. In general, foods that are rich in beta-carotene, selenium, manganese, and vitamins C and E tend to have a high antioxidant count. Not sure which ones to grab? Here are the antioxidant-rich foods to grab on your next grocery run that can help add that layer of protection against chronic diseases.

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1. Blueberries

handful of blueberries

Courtesy of andrew welch on Unsplash

Blueberries are a great source of antioxidants. They are high in flavonoids, a type of antioxidant that has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. In addition to being rich in antioxidants, blueberries are also high in fiber and vitamin C, making them a great addition to any diet.

2. Dark chocolate

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Dark chocolate is another great source of antioxidants. It contains flavonoids and polyphenols, which have been shown to have a wide range of health benefits, including reducing inflammation and improving heart health. However, it’s important to choose dark chocolate with a high cocoa content (such as 70% or more) to reap the benefits of its antioxidants.

3. Leafy greens

leafy green salad with blueberries


Leafy greens such as spinach, kale, and collard greens are rich in antioxidants such as beta-carotene and vitamin C. These antioxidants help to protect cells from oxidative stress and reduce inflammation in the body. Consuming leafy greens can also help to improve heart health and prevent certain types of cancer.

4. Green tea

Green tea is a great source of antioxidants called catechins. These antioxidants have been shown to have anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties, and may also help improve heart health. In addition to its antioxidant properties, green tea also contains caffeine, which can help improve mental alertness.

Related: The 5 Amazing Health Benefits of Drinking Green Tea

5. Nuts

bowl with oats and almonds and blueberries and cashews


Nuts like almonds and walnuts are high in antioxidants like vitamin E and selenium. These antioxidants help protect cells from damage and may reduce the risk of chronic disease. In addition to being rich in antioxidants, nuts are also high in protein and healthy fats which also reduces the risk of heart disease, making them a great snack option.

6. Citrus fruits

grapefruit juice cocktail


Citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruits, and lemons are high in vitamin C, which is a potent antioxidant. Consuming citrus fruits can help to boost the immune system and reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease.

Related: The 8 Best Frozen Fruits to Always Have On Hand, Say Experts

7. Spices

Food combining: turmeric and black pepper


Spices such as turmeric, ginger, and cinnamon are rich in antioxidants and have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties. Consuming these spices regularly can help to reduce inflammation in the body and improve overall health.

The bottom line

parfait with nuts blueberries granola and honey


Incorporating antioxidant-rich foods into your diet can help protect against chronic diseases like cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. Try adding blueberries to your oatmeal, snacking on a handful of nuts, or enjoying a cup of green tea in the morning. By doing so, you can help protect your body from harmful free radicals and promote overall health and well-being.

Read next: The 11 Best Foods To Lower Heart Disease Risk

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