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Antioxidants are compounds produced in your body and found in foods. They help defend your cells from damage caused by potentially harmful molecules known as free radicals. When free radicals accumulate, they may cause a state known as oxidative stress.

Chronic oxidative stress can increase your risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer. Eating a diet rich in antioxidants can help increase your blood antioxidant levels to fight oxidative stress and reduce the risk of these diseases.

Here are the top 12 everyday foods that are high in antioxidants.

1. Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate is delicious, nutritious and one of the best sources of antioxidants. Generally speaking, the higher the cocoa content, the more antioxidants the chocolate contains.

2. Pecans

Pecans are popular nuts rich in minerals, healthy fats and antioxidants. They may also help raise blood antioxidant levels and lower bad cholesterol.

3. Blueberries

Blueberries are among the best sources of antioxidants in the diet. They may help reduce the risk of heart disease and delay the decline in brain function that happens with age.

4. Strawberries

Strawberries are among the most popular berries on the planet. They are sweet, versatile and a rich source of vitamin C and antioxidants. Like other berries, strawberries are rich in antioxidants called anthocyanins, which may help reduce the risk of heart disease.

5. Artichokes

Artichokes are vegetables with some of the highest levels of antioxidants, including chlorogenic acid. Their antioxidant content can vary based on how they are prepared.

6. Goji Berries

Goji berries are the dried fruits and they have been a part of traditional Chinese medicine for more than 2,000 years. They are often marketed as a superfood because they are rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

7. Raspberries

Raspberries are nutritious, delicious and packed with antioxidants. Like blueberries, they are rich in anthocyanins and have anti-inflammatory effects in the body.

8. Kale

Kale is one of the most nutritious greens on the planet, partly because it’s rich in antioxidants. Although regular kale is high in antioxidants, red varieties may contain close to twice as much.

9. Red Cabbage

Red cabbage is a delicious way to increase your antioxidant intake. Its red color comes from its high content of anthocyanins, a group of antioxidants that have been linked to some impressive health benefits.

10. Beans

Beans are a diverse group of legumes that are inexpensive and healthy. They are incredibly high in fibre, which can help keep your bowel movements regular and are also one of the best vegetable sources of antioxidants.

11. Beets

Beets are a great source of fiber, potassium, iron, folate and antioxidants. They contain a group of antioxidants called betalains that have been linked to impressive health benefits.

12. Spinach

Spinach is rich in nutrients, high in antioxidants and low in calories. It’s also one of the best sources of lutein and zeaxanthin, which defend the eyes from free radicals.

Antioxidants are compounds that your body makes naturally. You can also get them from foods. They protect your body from potentially harmful molecules known as free radicals, which can accumulate and promote oxidative stress.

Oxidative stress raises the risk of heart disease, cancers, type 2 diabetes and many other chronic diseases. By eating a diet rich in antioxidants can help neutralise free radicals and reduce the risk of these chronic diseases as well as boost your blood levels of antioxidants and reap their many health benefits.

Julio Gutierrez is the founder and Head Coach of Hurricane Fitness. His love for the deadlift is almost as big as his love of pop culture.