Ranking Antioxidant-Rich Foods continued...
Here's the list of the top 20 food sources of antioxidants, based on their total antioxidant capacity per serving size:
Total antioxidant capacity per serving size
Small Red Bean (dried)
Red kidney bean (dried)
1 cup (whole)
1 cup (hearts)
Red Delicious apple
Granny Smith apple
Russet potato (cooked)
Black bean (dried)
Researchers also found that cooking method also had a significant effect on the antioxidant content of the foods tested, but those effects were not consistent.
For example, cooked Russet and red potatoes had much lower antioxidant levels than those found in raw potatoes. Boiling also decreased antioxidant levels in carrots, but cooking tomatoes increased their antioxidant content.
Putting Antioxidants in Perspective
Registered dietitian David Grotto says he was amazed to see that unexpected foods, such as beans, potatoes, and artichokes, were so highly ranked by the study.
"With the onslaught of 'no carbs' going on out there, it's nice that we can show that the potato brings more to the table than just carbohydrates," says Grotto, who is director of nutrition at Block Center for Integrative Cancer Care in Evanston, Ill.
"The message here is diverse diet is still optimal," Grotto tells WebMD. "You don't want to be on the all-red-bean diet because it may have the unique set of antioxidants that are attributed to beans, but it may not have many of the antioxidants that you would find in a wild blueberry."
Nor does it mean that you should limit your diet to only the foods that made the study's top 20 list or start popping antioxidant supplements.