Antioxidants are substances found in food. They may help block damage to cells in the body caused by free radicals. Free radicals are substances formed during normal body processes. If not blocked, free radicals may contribute to the development of certain diseases, including cancer and heart disease.
Antioxidants are found mainly in fruits and vegetables. The most important antioxidants are vitamin C, vitamin E, and carotenoids, including beta carotene. Vitamin C is thought to reduce the risk for cataracts, some cancers, and cardiovascular disease. Vitamin E may help prevent cardiovascular disease. Carotenoids from a variety of fruits and vegetables may protect against some cancers, cardiovascular disease, and cataracts. Other antioxidants include lycopene and lutein.
Many people take supplements containing antioxidants, but research at the American Heart Association indicates that foods are the best sources.
Antioxidants per serving
Red kidney beans
1 cup cooked
Red Delicious apples
Granny Smith apples