Antioxidants are the chemical substances that protect our body from free radical damage, thereby prevents various chronic inflammatory illnesses. It is very essential to know the foods which contain the highest antioxidants so that they can be included in our regular diet.
The antioxidant capacity of food is measured by ORAC testing. ORAC stands for oxygen radical absorbance capacity. This test is developed by the National Institute of Aging and the National Institute of Health. It gives the measuring ability of a substance to counter the free radical activity in the laboratory(in vitro). Measuring similar activity within the human body (in vivo) is very difficult as this occurs at a cellular level. Many scientists propose that the in vitro activity and in vivo activity go hand in hand (are similar).
Here is the list of top ten foods (which are mostly spices used in various parts of the world) that are rich in antioxidants. The antioxidant value of the food is given per 100 grams or 3.5 ounces.
1. Sumac bran (312,400): It is a spice that is used in Middle East cuisine. It is a high tannin variety of Sorghum (similar to wheat) but it is gluten-free. It has a lemony taste. So it is considered a perfect addition to salads and pasta.
2. Cloves (290,293): It is the most common spice that every one of us will know. It is the most potent spice. It is difficult to use on regular basis because of its taste.One ounce of cloves has antioxidants that are equal to 60 times of an ounce of blueberries.
3. Dried Indian Goose Berry (Amla (261,500): It is mostly grown in Subtropical regions and south and South East Asia. This fruit is loaded with antioxidants and vitamins C. Presence of both of them complement each other. It can be consumed as raw fruit but dried one is rich in antioxidants as water content is removed.
4. Oregano spice (175,295): It belongs to the mint family. Mostly grown in the Mediterranean region. It has an aromatic, warm, slightly bitter taste. Oregano oil was used as folk medicine in ancient times. It can be used as a dietary supplement too.
5. Rosemary spice (165,280): It belongs to the mint family. Mostly grown in the Mediterranean region. It is used as a flavouring agent. It has a bitter astringent taste with a characteristic aroma. It can be used as herbal tea. It is known to improve memory. The extract of this spice is rich in omega 3 fatty acids that are beneficial for heart health.
6. Dried Peppermint (160,820): It is grown mostly in Europe and Middle East countries. It is rich in terpenoids and various flavonoids. Peppermint oil is used to heal skin rashes, ache and it is also good for scalp health. In high concentrations,it is used as pesticide and insect, mosquito repellent.
7. Thyme Spice (157,380): The oil extracted from this spice is used as antiseptic, as it contains thymol. It is used in Listerine. It is used in bandages, treating fungal infection of toenails and in sanitizers. Thyme herb and water are good remedies for cough and bronchitis.
8. Baobab-fruit powder (140,000): It is mostly grown in Africa. It is loaded with antioxidants. It is also rich in vitamin C and calcium. The content of vitamin C in this fruit is equal to 600% times the content in oranges. The content of calcium in this fruit is equal to 200% times the content in milk. It is also rich in fiber, hence can be used for weight loss.
9. Cinnamon (131,420): is rich in antioxidants and also has its effects on maintaining the blood sugar levels.
10. Turmeric (127,068): The effects of turmeric are because of curcumin. It is very advantageous to health but not very well absorbed into the human body. It is the only spice that has undergone a lot of research. It is beneficial to everyone and it has its effects on everything right from arthritis to brain health and to skin care.