Healthy Intake of Antioxidants

Antioxidants  are man-made or natural compounds found in some foods that help neutralize free radicals in our bodies. Free radicals are substances that occur naturally in our bodies but attack the fats, protein and the DNA in our cells, which can cause different types of diseases and accelerate the aging process. These chemicals (free radicals) have been linked to diseases such as heart and liver disease and cancer.
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Antioxidants are found in many foods, including fruits and vegetables, as well as products derived from plants. Examples of well known antioxidants are  Beta-carotene, Lutein, Lycopene, Selenium, Flavonoids, anthocyanins, cryptoxanthins, Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Vitamin E. A diet high in antioxidants may reduce the risk of many diseases, including heart disease and certain cancers. A well-balanced diet, which includes consuming antioxidants from whole foods is best. Taking antioxidants as supplement may not have the same effects when taking naturally.

High-dose supplements of antioxidants may be linked to health risks in some cases. For example,  high doses of beta-carotene may increase the risk of lung cancer in smokers. High doses of vitamin E may increase risks of prostate cancer and one type of stroke. Antioxidant supplements may also interact with some medicines.

Some  common antioxidants and their sources:

 Vitamin A and Carotenoids,  are found in carrots, squash, broccoli, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, kale, collards, cantaloupe, peaches and apples.

Vitamin C is found in citrus fruits, green peppers, leafy green vegetables, strawberries and tomatoes.

 Vitamin E is found in nuts and seeds, whole grains, green leafy vegetables, vegetable oil and liver oil.

 Selenium is found in fish, shellfish, red meat, grains, eggs, chicken and garlic.

 Flavoniods and polyphenols are found in soy, red wine, purple and red grapes, pomegranates, cranberries and tea.

 Lycopene is found in tomatoes, grapefruit and watermelon.

Lutein is found in dark green vegetables such as kale, kiwi, broccoli, brussels sprouts and spinach.

Lignan is found in flax seed, oatmeal, barley and rye.

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