Antioxidant Showdown: The Best And Worst Fruits And Vegetables

Antioxidant Showdown: The Best And Worst Fruits And Vegetables

Studies have shown that inflammation affects acne. Inflammation (or oxidative damage) depletes antioxidants and that leaves your skin vulnerable to inflammation and irritants. Studies have also shown that antioxidant treatment can help with acne. I reviewed the acne inflammation connection in a previous post.

Now that you know antioxidants are important for your skin would you like to know which fruits and vegetables have the higher antioxidant potential? Well, what a coincidence because I happen to have such a list at hand.

When I was doing research on my green tea posts I came across with this study that measured the antioxidant potential of commonly eaten foods, beverages and oils in Italy. I took the data for fruits and vegetables and ranked them based on their antioxidant potential. As a technical note I used the ferric reducing-antioxidant power (FRAP) measure. Also a disclaimer. There are many ways to measure antioxidant potential and different measures come up with somewhat different results. So don’t be surprised if you see somewhat different results in other places.

The 15 top fruits and vegetables by antioxidant potential

So, without further ado here are the top 15 fruits and vegetables ranked by antioxidant potential.

  FRAP (mmol Fe2+/kg FW3)
Blackberry 51.53
Redcurrant 44.86
Raspberry 43.03
Olive (black) 39.99
Strawberry (wild) 28
Spinach 26.94
Olive (green) 24.59
Pepper (chili) 23.54
Strawberry (cultivated) 22.74
Pepper (red bell) 20.98
Orange 20.5
Blueberry 18.61
Turnip tops 17.77
Mushroom 16.39
Pineapple 15.73


Berries came out as clear winners in this study. No big surprises there. What really surprised me was the high antioxidant potential of olives. Also the fact that mushrooms made it to the top 15. Finally the lack of green, leafy vegetables was a surprise. Spinach is the only one holding the candle for otherwise super-healthy greens.

The bottom 10 fruits and vegetables by antioxidant potential

Now that you’ve seen the big winners, it’s time to scrape the bottom of the barrel and see which fruits and vegetables had the least antioxidant potential.

  FRAP (mmol Fe2+/kg FW3)
Loquat 2.7
Green bean 2.35
Fennel 2.33
Banana 2.28
Melon (honeydew) 2.27
Leek 2.15
Celery 1.16
Watermelon 1.13
Carrot 1.06
Cucumber 0.71


If you are like me and have no idea what loguat is, Google is happy to show you images. The big surprises in this bottom 10 list are: celery, melon and watermelon. I would have though melons rank higher, but I guess not.

Of course just because these fruits and veggies rank at the bottom 10 doesn’t mean you should avoid them. They are perfectly healthy. And I for one will keep eating cucumbers and cheer for them to do better in future comparisons.

About Me

Hi, I am Acne Einstein(a.k.a. Seppo Puusa). I'm a bit of a science nerd who is also passionate about health. I enjoy digging through medical journals for acne treatment gems I can share here. You can read more about my journey through acne and how I eventually ended up creating this.