Best Antioxidant Foods You’ve Never Heard Of

by Erica Sanderson Editor

Most of us know that blueberries, garlic and green tea are packed with antioxidants that help prevent cell damage. But there are plenty more foods that are as effective. A worldwide study published in Nutrition Journal in 2010 tested the antioxidant properties of more than 3,000 foods, beverages, spices, and supplements. Here are five of the most powerful antioxidant foods, according to their findings, that you’ve probably never even heard of.

Amla berries

Antioxidant value: 261.53 mmol/100g. Also known as Indian gooseberries, this walnut-sized fruit has 40 times more antioxidants than blackberries or blueberries. The tart berries also have up to 20 times more vitamin C than oranges. Want to try them? You can find it in many Indian grocery stores in the U.S. Enjoy them either cooked or steamed.


Antioxidant value: 13.74 mmol/100g. Okay, if you’re a health nut, you may know this one. Cacao is gaining a reputation in the U.S. and is being added to many chocolate bars. The good news: It’s chocolate. The bad news: Pure cacao is very bitter. If you toss back a handful expecting a pleasant Hershey taste, you’re in for a surprise. Add cacao powder to a smoothie to mask the taste—or tough it out.


Antioxidant value: 10.84 mmol/100g. From Africa, this tree fruit has four times more antioxidants than pomegranate juice. It’s also high in vitamin C, fiber, and contains double the calcium of milk. Despite its popularity in Africa—some say it’s as common as apples in America—it’s unfamiliar outside of the continent. Baobab tastes like a tangy pear and is cooked down into porridge or made into a juice.

Sangre de grado

Antioxidant value: 2,897.11 mmol/100g. Sangre de grado, also known as Dragon’s Blood, is cultivated from the sap in Peruvian raintrees called Croton lechleri. It’s so powerful that sangre de grado extract is used to treat cancer symptoms, although anyone may take it.

Sheep Polypore

Antioxidant value: 3.85 mmol/100g. Sheep Polypore is an edible mushroom with twice as many antioxidants as spinach. The mushrooms are found in forests spanning from Canada to Norway. But you must cook the mushrooms first before eating them. Their firm consistency is great for cooking versatility.

Erica Sanderson
Meet Our Writer
Erica Sanderson

Erica Sanderson is a former content producer and editor for HealthCentral. Living with a chronic disorder that affects the lungs and instestine, Erica focused on covering digestive health and respiratory health. Topics included COPD, asthma, acid reflux, managing symptoms and medication.