Antioxidants in Fruits
Fruits, especially berries, are full of antioxidants essential for good health.
Using the Antioxidant Color Wheel
On the color wheel, the purple-blue-red-orange spectrum is home to the most
Wild blueberries are the winner overall. Just one cup has 13,427 total
antioxidants - vitamins A & C, plus flavonoids (a type of antioxidant) like
querticin and anthocyanidin. That's about 10 times the USDA's recommendation,
in just one cup! Cultivated blueberries have 9,019 per cup and are equally
vitamin-rich. Buying tip: Peak season starts in mid-May, so blueberries are
less expensive during the summer.
Cranberries are the tart crown jewels of turkey feasts. They're also
antioxidant powerhouses (8,983). To get cranberries after the holiday scene has
passed, creative cooks sneak dried cranberries into risottos, salads, salsas,
and trail mixes.
Blackberries (7,701), raspberries (6,058), strawberries (5,938), black plums
(4,873), sweet cherries (4,873), and red grapes (2,016) are also brimming with
vitamins A and C and flavonoids like catechin, epicatechin, quercetin, and
anthocyanidin. Tossed into a green salad, these berries add extra color,
flavor, and texture. They're also very edible by the handful, with morning
cereal, mixed into yogurt, spooned over waffles or pancakes, and sprinkled over
All-American apples are also vitamin- and antioxidant-rich treats. The
classic Red Delicious (5,900), Granny Smith (5,381), Gala (3,903), and many
other varieties are available nearly year-round. Applesauce, juice, and jellies
are also tasty apple sources, but beware of added sugar (check the label).
Here's a tip: Mix some chopped apple into a tuna salad for a sandwich.
Finally, orange-colored fruits are good sources of antioxidants as well. One
naval orange has 2,540; the juice has about half that. Bite into a luscious
ripe mango, and you'll get 1,653. A peach has 1,826, tangerines, 1,361, and
Fruit Antioxidants in Dried or Frozen Form
Dried versions of these fruits are smaller, but they still have plenty of
antioxidants. For instance, just half a cup of these dried fruits packs quite a
punch: prunes (7,291), dates (3,467), figs (2,537), and raisins (2,490). Some
people prefer the taste or texture of certain dried fruits over fresh ones.
Dried cranberries are a prime example; they tend to be much less tart than the
When buying dried fruit, check the label for added sugar and portion size.
"One thing people don't realize is that portion size for dried fruit is
fairly small, usually a quarter of a cup," Moore tells WebMD. "So it's
very easy to overeat dried fruit, getting a lot more calories than you need.
For people struggling with weight control, that can be too much of a good
thing. If you eat the fruits in their natural form, they are very low in
calories, very nutritious, full of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and many, many
antioxidants. The whole fruit helps keep you in line calorie-wise."
Also, frozen fruits are a good way to go, adds Moore. "Make sure you buy
the ones without added sugar. Frozen berries are especially good for a
smoothie, where texture and appearance doesn't matter. Also, they're good over
ice cream or cake, when you're dishing and serving them fairly soon out of the
bag. If you wait too long after they've thawed, they're going to get fairly