Antioxidant fruits are fruits containing high levels of antioxidants, which protect the body against free radicals. Free radicals, or oxidants, are molecules which can increase aging in the body and can raise the risk of emergent degenerative and chronic diseases, such as cancer and Alzheimer’s. Antioxidants serve to halt the chemical chain reaction begun by free radicals and allow the body to achieve a state of balance. Some fruits high in antioxidants include prunes, raisins, blueberries and cranberries.
Every cell in the body requires oxygen to function, but oxygen can also harm the very cells relying on it. Cells with prolonged exposure to oxygen undergo a type of damage called oxidation. One way to see oxidation at work is to slice fruit into sections and expose its flesh to the air. Apples, pears, and bananas will begin to brown over time once their protective skin has been compromised. Applying a small quantity of lemon juice can prevent the browning of these fruits because lemon juice acts as an antioxidant. Antioxidant molecules work similarly inside the body, acting as agents which halt the oxidizing process within body cells and in some cases even reversing existing damage.
Vitamins A, C, and E are all naturally-occurring sources of antioxidants. These vitamins may be taken in supplement form or by eating foods that contain them. Health studies show that the human body is more likely to absorb these vitamins when they are ingested from natural sources, such as eating antioxidant fruits, as opposed to taking them from synthetic sources. According to health studies, these vitamins can play a vital role in protecting and healing brain tissue, lung tissue, red blood cells, and the spinal cord from damage caused by free radicals.
Scientists determine which foods are high in antioxidants by testing their Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC). Fruits and vegetables typically rate higher than any other food category on the ORAC chart. The top ten antioxidant fruits, which are fruits with the highest naturally-occurring levels of antioxidants include: acai, prunes, pomegranates, raisins, blueberries, blackberries, cranberries, strawberries, raspberries, and plums.
While eating a diet heavy in antioxidant fruits and antioxidant vegetables may improve overall tissue and body health, such a diet has not been proven to cure highly destructive diseases such as cancer. Studies show that nine servings of fruits and vegetables per day are required to achieve a rich antioxidant diet. A half cup of fruit or three-quarters cup of vegetables comprises one serving. Most doctors recommend that individuals with a family history of cancer, or who are in remission from cancer, eat antioxidant vegetables and fruits daily to alleviate the likelihood of the regeneration of the disease.