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:

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]

1. Carrots

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

2. 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]


Jamun is one of the best antioxidants 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]

4. Raw Honey

antioxidant rich foods

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. 

5. 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 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]

6. 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]

  1. Mushrooms

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

7. 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]

8. Desi Ghee

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

9. 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 everyday may be beneficial.

10. Cocoa

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

11. Green Tea

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

12. 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]

13. 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]

14. 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]

15. 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]

  1. Certain Spices

foods high in antioxidants

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]

  1. 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.

  1. Seeds

Seeds make one of the best antioxidant 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, tocopherols [20]


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.

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


Super foods 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