Top 20 Best Antioxidant-Rich Foods

Reviewed By Experts

antioxidant foods - livayur

Antioxidants are compounds that have acquired a huge lot of name and fame in recent times. The plethora of benefits for human health that they offer has made these compounds come to the limelight. Before we go into the details of the various antioxidant foods for health enhancement, you need to understand what antioxidants actually are. Antioxidants are a group of scientifically-surprising compounds that can neutralize the damaging effects of free radicals and harmful reactive oxygen species (ROS). [1] 

Due to their action against harmful free radicals, antioxidants are often called ‘free radical scavengers’.  Free radicals are health-declining wastes produced by the cells of your body as an outcome of day-to-day physiological processes running internally. Accumulation of free radicals in the body is the root cause of many chronic diseases, such as heart disease, aging, cancer, anemia, cardiovascular diseases, and inflammation. [1]

Thus, for health and fitness purposes, you must increase your consumption of antioxidant-rich foods. Read on to learn about the best antioxidant foods.

Reasons why antioxidants are important for the human body

Antioxidants play a crucial role in maintaining health for the following reasons.

1. Disease prevention

A diet rich in antioxidants can lower the risk of various diseases, including heart disease and certain cancers. Antioxidants help neutralize harmful free radicals in the body, which can contribute to the development and progression of chronic illnesses. [22]

2. Free radical scavenging

Antioxidants function as scavengers by targeting and neutralizing free radicals produced during the body’s natural metabolic processes. Free radicals, if left unchecked, can cause oxidative stress and damage to cells and DNA. [22]

3. Lycopene and prostate cancer

Men who include enough amounts of the antioxidant lycopene in their diets may experience a lower likelihood of developing prostate cancer. Lycopene, found in tomatoes and watermelon, has protective properties against prostate cancer. [22]

4. Lutein and eye health

Lutein, a carotenoid present in foods like spinach and corn, can decrease the incidence of eye lens degeneration and associated vision loss in the elderly. Dietary lutein may also contribute to improved memory and help prevent cognitive decline. [22]

5. Flavonoids and disease prevention

Foods rich in flavonoids, a diverse group of antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables, have preventive effects against various diseases. These include metabolic-related diseases and certain types of cancer. [22]

Top 20 foods high in antioxidants

1. Tomato

Tomato is one of the best antioxidant-rich foods in India. The juicy, pulpy veggie is used generously in Indian cuisine and is also eaten raw in salads. The chief antioxidant in tomatoes is Lycopene, and it helps in preventing certain types of cancers in humans. The other antioxidants are Beta-carotene, Vitamin C, and phenolic compounds such as ferulic acid, flavonoids, hydroxycinnamic acid, etc. [2]

2. Carrots

Carrot is one of the healthiest vegetables, mainly because of its powerful antioxidant compounds. The four major types of antioxidants found in carrots include carotenoids, phenolics, ascorbic acid, and polyacetylenes. [3]

3. Beetroot

Betalains, the key antioxidant in beetroot, makes it one of the top foods in the antioxidant food list. Certain types of cancers, cerebrovascular diseases, kidney, and liver diseases can be prevented if you take beetroot daily. [4]

4. Jamun

Jamun is one of the best antioxidant-rich foods. It is packed with bioactive compounds that can help your body in several ways. Jamun is used in Ayurveda for its multiple therapeutic benefits. It is used as a natural remedy for health issues like stomach pain, flatulence, infections, diabetes, asthma, heart problems, and skin issues. [5]

5. Raw Honey

Honey consists of plant-based compounds phenolic acids and flavonoids that can help boost your health. The anti-inflammatory action of honey can give a boost to your health. 

6. Nuts

Nuts come with the highest content of antioxidants and can give you the glossiest skin. In other words, nuts make one of the best antioxidant foods for the skin. So, if you are looking for healthy and glowing skin, try snacking with the healthiest nuts like Chestnuts, Pecans, Walnuts, Pistachios, and Peanuts. [6]

7. Bael fruit

Bael is loaded with Vitamins like A, B, and C. These vitamins make Bael an excellent antioxidant source, capable of preventing cancers. [7]

8. Mushrooms

Mushrooms are a rich source of antioxidants. α-glycans and β-glycans in mushrooms come with antioxidant properties to help you improve your health, [8] 

9. Kidney Beans

The Red-colored kidney beans are one of the best antioxidant-rich foods containing high amounts of anthocyanins, a famed antioxidant known for keeping chronic diseases of the heart and metabolic disorders at bay. [9]

10. Desi Ghee

Desi Ghee is one of the best antioxidant-rich foods. Vitamin E in Ghee prevents cancer, heart disease and cataracts.

11. Red Cabbage

Red cabbage or purple cabbage contains cyanidin-3-diglucoside-5-glucoside at its core and this ingredient intensifies cellular antioxidant activities in your body. [10] Taking red cabbage juice every day may be beneficial.

12. Cocoa

The delicious and nutritious cocoa can keep many chronic diseases like heart disease, and high blood pressure at bay. Cocoa is high in phenolic antioxidants and can effectively fight back the oxidative stress that free radicals cause. [11]

13. Green Tea

Plant-based antioxidant compounds called catechins in Green Tea make it the healthiest beverage for starting a day with. [13]

14. Indian Gooseberry/Amla

Indian Gooseberry or Amla is loaded with antioxidants like phenolic compounds, ascorbic acid, and gallic acid which can strengthen the immune system and improve digestion. [14]

15. Sweet Potato 

The orange-fleshed sweet potato contains high amounts of polyphenols, carotenoids, and anthocyanins [12] which make the tuber cancer-preventative, immunity booster, and brain health enhancer. Even the leaves of Sweet Potato are of immense nutritional value. [12]

16. Leafy greens

Leafy greens such as spinach, mustard greens, amaranth, lettuce etc are the best antioxidant foods. The vast array of Vitamins, Polyphenols, carotenoids and flavonoids in leafy greens can definitely make you healthy, energetic and youthful. [16]

17. Red wine

Red wine may be consumed to experience a better antioxidant response. Polyphenols like resveratrol and phenolic acids in Red wine can promote cardiovascular health and keep age-related health issues at bay. [17]

18. Certain Spices

Indian cuisine makes use of a vast array of flavorful spices with potent antioxidant properties. Pepper, cinnamon, cloves, ginger powder, garlic powder [18], turmeric, cardamom, black cumin, saffron, coriander, and fennel are some of the antioxidant-rich spices with immense health-protective benefits. [19]

19. Coffee

Coffee is loaded with antioxidants like chlorogenic, caffeic, ferulic, and n-coumaric acids. [15] In its roasted form coffee contains melanoidins, a powerful antioxidant which can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, liver cancer, and Parkinson’s disease.

20. Seeds

Seeds make one of the best antioxidant-rich foods. Among the various types of seeds pumpkin seeds and chia seeds are the healthiest in this respect. Pumpkin seeds contain powerful health-boosting antioxidants like carotenoids and Vitamin E while Chia seeds contain powerful antioxidants like carotenoids, phytosterols, and tocopherols [20]

Antioxidant deficiency symptoms

Here are some common signs that may indicate a deficiency in antioxidants.

1. Increased susceptibility to illness:

Insufficient levels of antioxidants can compromise the body’s ability to fight infections and illnesses. It can lead to frequent infections or prolonged recovery times. [23]

2. Premature aging signs

Antioxidants are known for their ability to combat oxidative stress, a major contributor to premature aging. Skin issues like fine lines and age spots may become more apparent in individuals lacking adequate antioxidant protection. [23]

3. Low energy levels

Oxidative stress can affect the body’s energy production. Antioxidant deficiency may contribute to persistent fatigue and low energy levels. [23]

4. Muscle weakness

Free radicals generated during oxidative stress can contribute to inflammation and tissue damage. Antioxidants help mitigate this damage, and their deficiency may result in increased muscle weakness. [23]

5. Cognitive decline

Antioxidants, particularly those with neuroprotective properties, help maintain cognitive function. Memory problems and an increased susceptibility to neurodegenerative conditions may indicate antioxidant deficiency. [23]

6. Vision issues

Antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin are essential for eye health. Deficiencies in these antioxidants may contribute to vision problems or an increased risk of age-related macular degeneration. [23]

Diseases that can be caused due to antioxidant deficiency

Here are some diseases associated with antioxidant deficiency.

1. Cardiovascular diseases

Antioxidants protect the cardiovascular system by preventing the oxidation of low-density lipoproteins (LDL) cholesterol. When LDL cholesterol undergoes oxidation, it can contribute to the increasing risk of heart disease and stroke. [23]

2. Cancer

Chronic oxidative stress and DNA damage can lead to the development of cancer. Antioxidants help neutralize free radicals that could otherwise contribute to mutations and uncontrolled cell growth. [23]

3. Neurodegenerative diseases

Conditions like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease involve oxidative stress and inflammation in the brain. Antioxidants, especially those with neuroprotective properties, play a crucial role in mitigating these processes. [23]

4. Diabetes

Oxidative stress has a close link to insulin resistance and the development of type 2 diabetes mellitus. Antioxidants, particularly those that improve insulin sensitivity, help regulate blood sugar levels. [23]

5. Inflammatory diseases

Chronic inflammation is a common thread in many diseases, including autoimmune conditions. Antioxidants help control the inflammatory response. [23]

Side effects and precautions to keep in mind about high antioxidant consumption

While antioxidants are crucial for maintaining health, it’s important to approach their consumption with balance and awareness for the following reasons.

1. Hypervitaminosis

Excessive intake of antioxidant vitamins, like vitamins A, C, and E, can lead to hypervitaminosis. It is a condition characterized by toxic levels of these vitamins in the body. This can result in nausea, vomiting, and dizziness.

2. Interference with medications

Some antioxidants can interact with medications. For example, vitamin K, found in green leafy vegetables, can interfere with blood-thinning medications like warfarin.

3. Digestive issues

Excessive consumption of antioxidant-rich foods or supplements may lead to digestive issues. These can include diarrhea, stomach cramps, or bloating. 

4. Impact on nutrient absorption

Excessive consumption of certain antioxidants, especially through supplements, may interfere with the absorption of other nutrients. For example, high doses of zinc or iron supplements may affect the absorption of copper, leading to imbalances.

Where to buy antioxidant supplements

Online storePrice
Hyuga Life₹759 (60 capsules)
Celevida Wellness ₹1912.5 (500gm chocolate)
SETU₹1,544 (Skin brightening formula – pack of 30)
In Life Healthcare₹534 (60 capsules)


1. How many types of antioxidants are there?

There are two groups of classification for antioxidants.
Group A: Natural & Synthetic [1]
Natural antioxidants come from completely natural sources while synthetic antioxidants are produced through chemical processes.
Group B: Endogenous & Exogenous [1]
Endogenous antioxidants are made by our body while Exogenous antioxidants come from outside.

2. How does Ayurveda propose to counteract the harmful free radicals?

Ayurveda highlights the importance of the rasayana therapy to counteract the free radicals and the resultant oxidative stress. ‘Rasayana’ is a combination of two words, ‘rasa’ meaning vital and ‘ayana’ meaning nourishment. The treatment comprises various steps and formulations to arrest aging, improve vitality, destroy diseases and promote life. Rasayana Chikitsa in Ayurveda or rasayana herbal drugs are also applied to stimulate and empower the intrinsic antioxidant response in our body. [21] There are several Ayurvedic plant extracts with immense antioxidant potential. These herbs belong to the category of both natural and dietary herbs, and include Garlic (Lahsun), Aloe Vera (Ghrita kumari), Bay leaf (Tej patra), Turmeric (Haldi), Holy Basil (Tulsi), Indian Gooseberry (Amla), Green Tea (Chai), Cinnamon (Dalchini), Ginger (Adraka), Fenugreek (Methi), Onion (Peyaaz). Apart from these there are also several medicinal herbs such as Ashwagandha, Shatavari, Asparagus, Vacha, Bacopa and Shankhpushpi.

Can you give a list of few endogenous and few exogenous antioxidant compounds

Yes, please study the table given below to get an answer:

Endogenous/Natural antioxidantsExogenous/Synthetic antioxidants
FlavonoidsVitamins A, C, E


Superfoods consist of antioxidants and in this article, we have informed you about antioxidant foods and also answered the question ‘What are antioxidants in food’. Include the above-listed antioxidant-rich foods in your daily diet and enjoy the kiss of good health!


This article is written from a health and wellness perspective only and is not a piece of medical advice. Kindly seek the help of a certified medical practitioner before initiating any treatment.


  1. The importance of antioxidants and place in today’s scientific and technological studies
  2. Tomatoes: An Extensive Review of the Associated Health Impacts of Tomatoes and Factors That Can Affect Their Cultivation
  3. Phytochemicals in Daucus carota and Their Health Benefits—Review Article
  4. Beetroot as a functional food with huge health benefits: Antioxidant, antitumor, physical function, and chronic metabolomics activity
  5. Antidiabetic and antioxidant functionality associated with phenolic constituents from fruit parts of indigenous black jamun (Syzygium cumini L.) landraces
  6. Chapter 6- Antioxidants in Nuts and Seeds
  7. In-depth pharmacological and nutritional properties of bael (Aegle marmelos): A critical review
  8. Antioxidants of Edible Mushrooms
  9. Anthocyanidins and anthocyanins: colored pigments as food, pharmaceutical ingredients, and the potential health benefits
  10. Red Cabbage Rather Than Green Cabbage Increases Stress Resistance and Extends the Lifespan of Caenorhabditis elegans
  11. Cocoa and Chocolate in Human Health and Disease
  12. Changes in Antioxidant Properties and Phenolics in Sweet Potatoes (Ipomoea batatas L.) Due to Heat Treatments
  13. Beneficial effects of green tea: A literature review
  14. Functional and Nutraceutical Significance of Amla (Phyllanthus emblica L.): A Review
  15. Antioxidant and Antiradical Activity of Coffee
  16. Analysis of nutritional and antioxidant potential of three traditional leafy vegetables for food security and human wellbeing
  17. Red wine consumption increases antioxidant status and decreases oxidative stress in the circulation of both young and old humans
  18. Antioxidant activity of selected Indian spices
  19. Use of Selected Antioxidant-Rich Spices and Herbs in Foods
  20. Chia Seeds (Salvia Hispanica L.): An Overview—Phytochemical Profile, Isolation Methods, and Application
  21. Evaluation of free-radical quenching properties of standard Ayurvedic formulation Vayasthapana Rasayana
  22. Antioxidants
  23. Antioxidants

Dr. Deepa Kadam

Dr. Deepa has over 25 years of experience making her one of the notable medical professionals in the field of Ayurveda with expertise in Ayurvedic pharmacology.


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