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Antioxidants – Foods that contain antioxidants

What are antioxidants?

Antioxidants are substances that can protect cells from damage caused by unstable molecules known as free radicals. Free radicals come from a variety of sources, such as air pollutants and cigarette smoke. Examples of antioxidants include vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin A, beta-carotene, selenium, and lycopene.

These antioxidants are found in many vegetables, fruits, and grains. It is beneficial to supplement with a multivitamin if you feel you are not getting your daily recommended amount of antioxidants, however, never rely on one supplement for all your antioxidant needs, as there is no suitable substitute for the real thing.

Foods that contain antioxidants

There are a variety of foods that contain antioxidants. Vary your food selection to ensure you get all the necessary vitamins and minerals:

  • Vitamin C. This is mainly found in fruits, such as guava, kiwi, papaya, strawberries, oranges, lemons, and cantaloupe. Other sources of vitamin C are red bell peppers, parsley, broccoli, cauliflower, and tomatoes. It is also present in some cuts of meat, especially liver.

  • Vitamin E The most abundant sources of vitamin E are vegetable oils, such as palm, sunflower, corn, soybean, and olive oil. Peanuts and sunflower seeds are additional sources of vitamin E, as are vegetables like corn, asparagus, and tomatoes. This can also be found in fortified breakfast cereals.

  • Vitamin A It is found in dark green vegetables like broccoli, spinach, and turnip greens, as well as other vegetables like carrots, squash, sweet potatoes, and squash. Some fruits, such as cantaloupe and apricots, provide a good source of vitamin A. It can also be found in animal sources such as liver, milk, butter, cheese, and eggs.

  • beta carotene The following foods are particularly high in carotenes: sweet potatoes, carrots, kale, spinach, turnip greens, winter squash, kale, cilantro, and fresh thyme.

  • Selenium. Dietary selenium comes from nuts, grains, meat, fish, and eggs. Brazil nuts are the richest ordinary dietary source. High levels of selenium are also found in meats such as kidney, crab, and lobster.

  • Lycopene. Lycopene is a potent antioxidant found in tomatoes, watermelon, guava, papaya, apricots, pink grapefruit, and blood oranges.

A diet rich in antioxidants has been shown to prevent and protect the body from diseases such as cancer, heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and cataracts.


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