Extension Agent: Top 20 fruits, vegetables and nuts
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By Joe Janak
In my last article, I discussed the top 20 fruits, vegetables and nuts that were researched by USDA to have the highest levels of antioxidants. Unfortunately the top 20 foods were not printed in this column, and because of several requests, the following will list them.
Antioxidants are really good for us. They do not allow free radicals to form in our body's cells.
Free radicals weaken atoms and the molecular structure in our cells daily and unless neutralized with antioxidants, oxidative stress or cellular damage occurs. This is bad for our cells, especially our brain cells.
So, the moral of my story was to grow and eat foods high in antioxidants. See March 31, County Agent's Column for the full story.
In order of rank, from the "Largest USDA Study Of Food Antioxidants Reveals Best Sources," ScienceDaily, June 17, 2004, the list and quantity of the top 20 antioxidant foods is as follows:
1. Small red bean (dried), half cup - 13,727
2. Wild blueberry, 1 cup - 13,427
3. Red kidney bean (dried), half cup - 13,259
4. Pinto bean, half cup - 11,864
5. Blueberry (cultivated), 1 cup - 9,019
6. Cranberry, 1 cup (whole) - 8,983
7. Artichoke (cooked), 1 cup (hearts) - 7,904
8. Blackberry, 1 cup - 7,701
9. Prune, half cup - 7,291
10. Raspberry, 1 cup - 6,058
11. Strawberry, 1 cup - 5,938
12. Red delicious apple, one - 5,900
13. Granny Smith apple, one - 5,381
14. Pecan, 1 ounce - 5,095
15. Sweet cherry, 1 cup - 4,873
16. Black plum, one - 4,844
17. Russet potato (cooked), one - 4,649
18. Black bean (dried), half cup - 4,181
19. Plum, one - 4,118
20. Gala apple, one - 3,903
In 2007, the study was expanded to include 275 common foods using several methods to evaluate the antioxidant level and the following two Web sites provide a complete summary:
http://tinyurl.com/yefbb7k and http://tinyurl.com/3nybjg
While I try to refrain from using foul language, annual bastard-cabbage is the proper and correct common name for an invasive yellow flowering plant seen on many roadsides especially from Victoria, north and to the west, and possibly elsewhere. I've always called this plant wild mustard and will work to key out exactly as to which of these we have, but both of these plants are very similar in appearance and both are very invasive. The cabbage species is listed on Texas' Invasive Plant List.
I would encourage anyone who sees either of these plants, whether if it is on your place or on the roadside to stop and pull it out, chop it out or at least shred it down as low as possible as it approaches the end of its flowering season. This will help to reduce the numbers of seed produced by these very invasive plants that are starting to take over our farms, ranches and highway right-of-ways. Do it now when you can recognize them by their flower. While herbicides may help, at this stage they may only be minimally effective because of the maturity of the plant.
Unfortunately, as more wildflowers are left on the roadways to bloom and make seed, so will this plant. I believe that has been some of the reason we see so much of it on the sides of our highways. Destroy them now, within the next week, before the flowers are gone and you are unable to recognize them.
Joe Janak is a Victoria County extension agent.