Antioxidant

Antioxidants are natural or artificial substances that work to protect cells from damage caused by free radicals and the adverse effects they can produce in the human body. Antioxidants are found in abundance in many fruits and vegetables. 

Examples of antioxidants:

  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin C
  • Selenium
  • Lycopene
  • Beta-carotene
  • Lutein

Since antioxidants can help to neutralize free radicals, and free radicals are thought to contribute to the development of disease, many researchers believe that increased consumption of antioxidants should, in turn, help combat disease.[1]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3614697/ 

The Role of Antioxidant Supplements

However, antioxidant supplementation alone may not provide the expected health benefits. One long-term, high-quality study determined that vitamin E supplements did not help to prevent heart problems or cancer in women.[2]https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15998891/  Another study in men originally showed that supplementation with vitamin E and selenium did not prove beneficial in preventing prostate cancer. Follow-up years later suggested that vitamin E supplements actually increased the risk of prostate cancer in this same group of men. [3]https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21990298/ 

In contrast, the Age-Related Eye Disease Study found that when participants combined beta-carotene, vitamin E, and vitamin C, the risk of development of age-related macular degeneration significantly declined.[4]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1473211/ 

It appears as though regular consumption of fruits and vegetables is likely most beneficial when it comes to health.[5]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3249911/  

High-Antioxidant Food Sources

  • Teas
  • Herbs
  • Spices
  • Berries
  • Greens
  • Root vegetables
  • Winter squashes
  • Cruciferous vegetables[6]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2841576/