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What You Need to Know About Antioxidants

Antioxidants are chemicals that help stop or limit damage caused by free radicals. Your body uses antioxidants to balance free radicals. This keeps them from causing damage to other cells. Antioxidants can protect and reverse some of the damage. They also boost your immunity.

Your body produces some antioxidants. The best way to get antioxidants is through certain foods and vitamins.

Common antioxidants include:

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

You can get most of these antioxidants by eating a healthy diet.

This includes a mix of colorful fruits and vegetables. Whole grains, seeds, and nuts also provide good nutrients.

Vitamin A is in milk, butter, eggs, and liver.

Vitamin C is in most fruits and vegetables. Eat fruits such as berries, oranges, kiwis, cantaloupes, and papayas. Eat vegetables such as broccoli, bell peppers, tomatoes, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and kale.

Vitamin E is in some nuts and seeds. For example, almonds, sunflower seeds, hazelnuts, and peanuts. You can find it in green leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale. You also can find it in soybean, sunflower, corn, and canola oils.

Beta-carotene is in brightly colored fruits and vegetables. Eat fruits such as peaches, apricots, papayas, mangoes, and cantaloupes. Eat vegetables such as carrots, peas, broccoli, squash, and sweet potatoes. It also is in some leafy green vegetables such as beet greens, spinach, and kale.

Lycopene is in pink and red fruits and vegetables. This includes pink grapefruits, watermelon, apricots, and tomatoes.

Lutein is in green leafy vegetables such as spinach, collards, and kale. You also can find it in broccoli, corn, peas, papayas, and oranges.

Selenium is in pasta, bread, and grains, including corn, wheat, and rice. You can find it in animal products, like beef, fish, turkey, and chicken. You also can find it in nuts, legumes, eggs, and cheese.

Each antioxidant has a different chemical makeup. Each one provides different health benefits. Too much of one antioxidant can be harmful. Talk to your doctor before changing your diet or taking supplements.

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DISCLAIMER: These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. The information is for informational purposes and is not intended to treat, diagnose or cure any illness. Consult a physician before taking any action.

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