31 Antioxidant-Rich Foods to Fight Free Radical Damage

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31 Antioxidant-Rich Foods- to fight free radical damage.
We’ve known all along that eating fruits and vegetables is good for you, and science is now proving this to be true in some pretty incredible ways. If you needed impressive sounding reasons to get your five to seven servings a day, then consuming foods high in antioxidants will help battle the damage done by free radicals. Since it’s hard to stop the factors that go into free radical production, it’s easier to eat right to help your body fend them off.


1. Broccoli
Broccoli is often listed as a superfood and it’s no wonder since it has plenty of antioxidants to boast about. In addition to a broad assortment of vitamins and minerals, broccoli also has good fiber levels and a respectable amount of protein from a vegetable source. Broccoli makes a great side dish all by itself, and also is included in plenty of healthy recipes for main dishes. The more research that is done on broccoli, the more healthy it is determined to be.

Most notable antioxidant: Sulforaphane


2. Apricots
Apricots are a fruit that often goes overlooked in the produce section, but it’s time to start adding it to the cart more often. You’re getting a nice dose of both vitamin A and vitamin C, but what’s most impressive about apricots is their lycopene content. This is the same antioxidant that consistently makes the news in relation to tomatoes. The color of apricots is the clue that it contains it, and while it might not contain as much as tomatoes it’s still worth adding to your regular fruit lineup.

Most notable antioxidant: Lycopene

3. Raspberries
Raspberries are one of the best berries to eat for their antioxidant value. They are exceptionally high in phenols and anthocyanins that have been attributed to having anti-cancer benefits. They can also be used in an anti-inflammatory diet as a way to curb symptoms caused by inflammation. It’s best to buy organic raspberries, as the pesticides and other chemicals used on conventional raspberries will counteract and negate the antioxidant content by introducing more free radicals into your body.

Most notable antioxidant: Ellagitannins

4. Cherries
Blueberries are often credited as a fruit with one of the highest levels of antioxidants per ounce. But cherries rank nearly as high and should be thought of just as highly. They contain phytonutrients in a form that makes it so the body can more easily absorb it. Buy organic cherries whenever possible, and eat them raw for the best results. You can also drink cherry juice for the same benefits. You’ll get some benefits from cooking or baking cherries in a recipe, but the amount will be depleted from the cooking process.

Most notable antioxidant: Anthocyanins

watermelon and antioxidants

5. Watermelon
The red color of watermelon is a tip off to its antioxidant content, and this is one summertime treat that you’ll be happy to learn has some sizable antioxidant content. The same antioxidant that gives tomatoes their red color, lycopene, is what makes watermelon such a smart and cooling snack. You’ll also get vitamins and minerals in each serving, as well as fiber. As the name implies, watermelon also has a high water content, so it can help keep you hydrated, which is important for skin and digestive health.

Most notable antioxidant: Lycopene

6. Artichokes
Artichokes contain a fantastic amount of antioxidants, and rank just as high as some fruits popular for their antioxidant value, like raspberries and blueberries. It matters how you eat your artichokes, and relying on something like spinach artichoke dip might not be the best way to go, even though both foods are high in antioxidants. Consider grilling your artichokes, or going with a larger, meatier Roman-style artichokes that contain more of the stem. They make great salad toppers, and if you eat them on a kale or spinach salad you’re getting tons of antioxidants in one meal.

Most notable antioxidant: Silymarin

7. Oranges
The notorious amounts of vitamin C in oranges and orange juice is what causes them to rank on our list. Vitamin C is an antioxidant known for boosting the immune system, so much so that there are vitamin C supplements that food companies promote as something to take when you feel a cold coming on. A better strategy is to make sure you’re getting the proper amount on a daily basis by eating oranges and other foods high in vitamin C. Oranges make a great midday pick-me-up and can also be used as a carbohydrate side to balance a meal.

Most notable antioxidant: Vitamin C

8. Spinach
Spinach is well-known for being a powerhouse of nutrients, as well as containing excellent amounts of fiber and protein. It has plenty of antioxidants as well, with beta-carotene to help not only your eyesight but also fending off damage done by free radicals. Spinach is the base ingredient to many green smoothies, and also makes a great foundation for a salad. If you have trouble eating spinach because you don’t like the taste, try using in a recipe that has other ingredients and seasonings to make it taste better.

Most notable antioxidant: Beta-carotene

9. Cranberries
If you only eat cranberries during the holidays, it’s time to give them a chance to impress you during the rest of the year. They contain a whopping amount of antioxidants, and are a pretty versatile food to cook with and prepare. Try to avoid eating dried cranberries that have a lot of added sugar. Sugar can form free radicals in the body, so it would be counterproductive to eat a food for its antioxidant value if it contains too much sugar. The tart taste of cranberries can be offset with other fruits and berries that are a bit sweeter and will help to balance it out.

Most notable antioxidant: Vitamin C

kidney beans

10. Kidney Beans
With so many fruits and vegetables rounding out our list of antioxidant-rich foods, it’s nice to see a legume make an appearance. Kidney beans contain enough vitamins and minerals to have an antioxidant effect on the body. You can also eat red beans for the same effect. The reason these beans rank here is because of their manganese level, which helps the body produce and maintain its antioxidant level. They make a great side dish by themselves or they can be mixed with other beans in a salad.

Most notable antioxidant: Manganese to support superoxide dismutase

11. Blackberries
Blackberries usually take a back burner to the more popular strawberries and blueberries, but they deserve some attention as well. They contain roughly the same antioxidant value, and bring with them a unique taste that is different than these other berry options. While they may not go in pancakes as well as blueberries, or on top of waffles as well as strawberries, they can still be eaten as part of a berry mix to broaden your antioxidant intake.

Most notable antioxidant: Ellagic Acid

12. Strawberries
Quite possibly the most popular berry across the country, strawberries not only taste great but are great for you. The large amounts of phytonutrients insures that you’re doing your part in helping your body fend off free radicals, and it also contains more than a full day’s worth of vitamin C in a one-cup serving. Resist the urge to dip your strawberries in sugar, and try to appreciate them for their own natural flavor. Makes a great complement to a banana in a smoothie.

Most notable antioxidant: Phytonutrients (phenolic compounds)

13. Lentils
Lentils have suffered from mainstream unconsciousness for years, and have only recently entered the spotlight as a great food to eat to stabilize blood sugar levels, keep you full for a long time, and get more fiber into your system. They also have antioxidants in them that make them a great choice as a side dish, or used as part of a main dish. You can find them canned in many grocery stores, but it’s better to buy them raw and cook them up in batches as needed.

Most notable antioxidant: Anthocyanin

14. Corn
It’s hard to think of corn as a food rich in antioxidants, but that’s what it is. On many of the trendiest diets, corn doesn’t make the cut as an approved vegetable, and ends up on the carbs list. Since there’s debate as to whether corn is a grain or a vegetable, it’s probably best just to put this in the carb category. But since it contains antioxidants it becomes a preferred carb to those that don’t, can be used as a healthy and convenient side to most any meat dish to round things out nicely. Make sure the corn you buy is organic and non-GMO as this food tends to be a popular one to raise conventionally. Research shows that the lutein and zeaxanthin found in corn can help promote eye health.

Most notable antioxidant: Lutein and zeaxanthin


15. Grapefruit
Grapefruit is a fantastic diet food, and part of the reason is that it has antioxidants to spare. It contains lycopene due to its pigmentation, and it has plenty of vitamin C, another powerful antioxidant. It’s also low in sugar, low in calories, and has been shown to rev up your metabolism. Grapefruit is one of those fruits that doesn’t really play well with other foods, and is often eaten on its own, or mixed together with other citrus fruit.

Most notable antioxidant: Lycopene

16. Pecans
Pass the pecans! These nuts are packed with antioxidants and deserve to show up in more of your cooking, or as a healthy between-meals snack. Pecans contain excellent amounts of fiber, as well as many essential minerals the body needs to function at its best. If eating pecan pie was your plan, you may want to come up with a better strategy, as the antioxidant value is going to come through best when eaten raw or cooked and baked with other healthy ingredients.

Most notable antioxidant: Vitamin E

17. Peaches
Here’s some deliciously sweet good news: peaches contain antioxidants in the form of phenols that do the body good. Selenium has been shown to have anti-cancer benefits. Peaches can help keep you feeling full, making them great for weight loss efforts, and they’re also effective at keeping your skin and hair healthy. Try to catch them in season for the best flavor, and buy organic to avoid any counterproductive chemicals used in conventional growing practices.

Most notable antioxidants: Phenols and selenium

18. Prunes
Prunes are often eaten to keep the digestive system going due to their large fiber content, but they also contain a fair amount of antioxidants and can’t be overlooked, as they can be used as part of a cancer preventing diet. They can also help to keep blood glucose levels stable, and keep your cholesterol levels in check. To top it all off they help boost the immune system with vitamin C and help to keep your bones strong as well.

Most notable antioxidant: Vitamin E, vitamin C, and beta-carotene

19. Kale
Kale is one of the trendier vegetables in the last few years, and part of that reason is the number of antioxidants it provides. Things like kale chips, green smoothies with kale in them, and hundreds of other kale recipes will all get more of these antioxidants into your system. Kale also gets mentioned for its fiber levels, and all of the minerals it provides, it even contains a large amount of protein for a vegetable. But its Vitamin A and Vitamin C levels is where it shines, and they can’t be ignored.

Most notable antioxidant: Quercetin and Kaempferol

bell peppers

20. Bell Peppers
The coloration of the bell pepper is what gives it its antioxidant content. You can choose red, yellow, orange, or the most common, green, and no matter which way you go you’ll get antioxidants in them. These peppers can be used to brighten up a salad, cut into strips and dipped into hummus, sauted and added to sandwiches and main dishes, or stir fried with other vegetables and a protein source like chicken for a healthy meal. Going organic is always recommended with fresh vegetables like these.

Most notable antioxidant: Vitamin C and beta-carotene

21. Oats
You’re probably tired of hearing about how healthy oats are if they’re not your favorite food item. They’ve long been recommended for their ability to lower cholesterol levels and improve heart health, but they also contain an antioxidant that you simply can’t find anywhere else, as it’s exclusive to oats. They have a big name, avenanthramides, and these are notable for their ability to prevent heart disease. So like it or not, a bowl of oatmeal is one of the best breakfasts out there.

Most notable antioxidant: Avenanthramides

22. Apples
Apples are the quintessential health food, and as it turns out they contain the antioxidants to back up their reputation. It’s easy enough to get your apple a day, since they are easily taken along to work or school, and make a handy snack that can hold you over a few hours until your next meal. Apple pies and other baked goods with apples should be avoided, as they likely contain too much sugar which will counteract the effects of eating the apple itself. Conventional apple orchards are known for getting sprayed, so go organic on these if you can.

Most notable antioxidant: Quercetin

23. Soybeans
Soybeans are gaining in popularity, and you can even find edamame on the appetizer section of some restaurant menus. Soybeans help you out in many ways, not just because of the antioxidants they contain. They are a good source of vegetable protein, making them great for vegans and vegetarians. They also contain healthy unsaturated fats that your body needs, and that can actually help your body burn fat. They are also a good source of fiber, which helps boost your metabolism and keep things moving digestively speaking.

Most notable antioxidant: Isoflavones

24. Asparagus
Asparagus makes a great side dish, and can bring more nutrients to the table than many other vegetables, which is pretty impressive when you consider how healthy vegetables tend to be in general. They also contain a great deal of antioxidants, fiber, and minerals that your body craves. But it’s the cancer fighting antioxidant known as glutathione that perhaps is the most compelling reason to start eating more asparagus. You just can’t go wrong with it, try buying it and eating it fresh on a salad for a treat.

Most notable antioxidant: Glutathione

alfalfa sprouts

25. Alfalfa Sprouts
Alfalfa sprouts are a fun way to add more antioxidants to your diet because they can go on salads and sandwiches for instant flavor and a nutritional boost. And even though they don’t seem like much, they do contain a nice mix of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that can help you avoid such things as cancer, heart disease, as well as osteoporosis. Be sure to rinse off your alfalfa sprouts to make sure they’re clean before using them with other foods.

Most notable antioxidant: Vitamin E

26. Brussels Sprouts
Being in the same group as broccoli and cabbage is a good thing, and Brussel sprouts hold their own in the antioxidant department. While maybe not the most delectable of all vegetables, they’re an acquired taste that’s worth acquiring. They are great at reducing your cholesterol levels, and can help you with your weight loss efforts by improving your digestion. And of course antioxidants are known for helping to prevent cancer and heart disease.

Most notable antioxidant: Sulforaphane

27. Carrots
Carrots have gotten a reputation for being good for your eyes due to the beta-carotene, and this is true, but they also provide other benefits to the body by helping with overall oxidation concerns. By battling excessive oxidation in the body you’re helping with anti-aging efforts and helping your liver function the way it needs to. Having a healthy liver leads to plenty of carryover benefits to the rest of your organs.

Most notable antioxidant: Beta-carotene

28. Watercress
If you’re not familiar with watercress and the benefits it provides, allow us to introduce you. Watercress has plenty of vitamins, and outperforms many of the most popular fruits and veggies, like having more vitamin C than an orange. It’s aptly named, because it grows partially submerged in water. The best way to eat watercress is as a mix-in to a salad and it can add even more antioxidants to a spinach or kale salad and help round out the nutritional profile of a meal.

Most notable antioxidants: Phenolic compounds, vitamin C and beta-carotene

29. Blueberries
Blueberries consistently rank on top of lists of foods with the most antioxidants. Ounce for ounce blueberries outdo most other fruits, as well as other berries, and deserve a place in your regular shopping trips. It’s pretty easy to start eating more blueberries, as they’re available year round, and they can be eaten on their own or with other berries at breakfast time, and used in healthy baked goods for added flavor, color, and texture. A berry mix of raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries is one tasty and nutrient-packed dish.

Most notable antioxidant: Anthocyanin

30. Cantaloupe
Cantaloupe is one of the sweeter and tastier melons you can eat, and because of their orange color they contain polyphenols that will support your body in several different ways. Even though cantaloupe are a tropical fruit you can generally find them all year long as most grocery stores. A melon salad is a nice way to get more flavors as well as additional antioxidants, with honeydew and watermelon being popular choices.

Most notable antioxidant: Polyphenols

tomatoes are rich in antioxidants

31. Tomatoes
The talk about tomatoes usually revolves around the lycopene they contain, and usually ends with a recommendation to eat more tomatoes. Lycopene has been credited as being a big help in preventing heart disease, and secondarily as a way to prevent getting diabetes. It seems the more they study it, the more it helps with, so it would be wise to just start eating more of it since who knows what they’ll discover in the future as far as its benefits.

Most notable antioxidant: Lycopene

Users Comments:

  • sam

    Thanks for the info. Never realized there were so many types of antioxidants-

  • Patrick

    Thanks for the reminders – don’t forget apricot kernals contain vitamin B17.

  • Natasha Parks

    Thanks for all your useful information.

  • malo

    Great info ,thanks a lot .surprisingly ,I had already included most of these in my daily diet .

  • Zharkynai

    Thank you. But how about beetroot?

  • JarJar

    A certain person who had riches far behond the normal mortal and was a fruit terrain died of cancer, live for today, don’t eat more calories then you burn and nature will do the rest.
    The fitness & nutritional business empire makes billions of pounds promoting pointless diets, fads and rubbish.
    The formula to follow which doesn’t cost anything
    Find your daily calorie intake and don’t eat over that….
    if you want to add a little weight then consume a little more, loose weight eat a little less ????????????????

    • Pennywise

      There’s a lot more to being healthy than just being ‘at the right weight’. You could conceivably consume your needed calorie intake for the day by eating just chocolate or cake.

  • Peterroy

    One of the best antioxidants is the Mangosteen Fruit. Nutrients called Xanthones are most prevalent in the mangosteen These Xanthones strengthen the cell walls, help fight against loose radicals and prevent infections from taking place. This process in turn enhances the immune system of the body and aids the metabolic activity. Xanthones may also help people maintain flexible joints and keep lungs healthy. The same anti-inflammatory benefits also contribute to reducing the problems associated with allergies. With Mangosteen Fruit Powder you get a concentrated amount without all the work of processing fresh fruit yourself and it’s great in smoothies. See royaltropics.com.

  • Pennywise

    Hi. You’ve mentioned a few things to buy organic. But why is there no mention of this amongst some of the other worst offenders for pesticides – including spinach, strawberries and bell peppers.

  • William ojangole

    Good I didn’t know the foods our body needs to consume. I have learnt now

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