Antioxidants are molecules that resist free radicals in your body. Free radicals are compounds that can cause danger if their levels become extremely high. They are associated with diabetes, multiple illness, heart disease, and cancer. The sources of antioxidants may be natural or artificial. Certain plant-based foods are regarded to be rich in antioxidants, but due to nutritional deficiencies, people opt for artificial supplements of antioxidants.

Antioxidants are artificial or natural substances that may forbid or delay some types of cell damage. Many diets rich in fruits and vegetables are good sources of antioxidants. These foods are considered to be healthy. However, how many types of antioxidants do you know?

The body synthesizes some antioxidants referred to as endogenous while others come from outside and are called exogenous. Many people are not aware of antioxidants comprehensively. Therefore, it is necessary to discuss it in various dimensions. This article explains the sources, types, benefits, dietary tips, and supplements of antioxidants.

Sources of Antioxidants

The most popular sources of antioxidants are plant-based foods, especially vegetables and fruits. Foods that are particularly rich in antioxidants are called a superfood. To get specific antioxidants, include the following in your diet;

  • Vitamin E: sunflower, nuts, and seeds, leafy vegetables, oily vegetables.
  • Vitamin A: Eggs, liver, and dairy produce
  • Beta-carotene: Brightly colored vegetables and fruits like spinach, peas, mangoes, and carrots are good sources.
  • Vitamin C: most vegetables and fruits, especially oranges, berries, and bell peppers, are good sources.
  • Selenium: Corn, rice, wheat, and other whole grains like nuts, cheese, and eggs.
  • Lutein: Green, corn, papaya, oranges, and leafy vegetables

Additionally, some foods are believed to be good sources of antioxidants. Such foods include broccoli, lentils, apples, spinach, blueberries, eggplants, red grapes, pomegranates, goji berries, dark chocolate, and legumes like kidney beans or black beans. Foods with rich colors contain the most antioxidants. Studies suggest that coffee is the single rich source of antioxidants in western diets.

Types of Antioxidants

The two categories of antioxidants are fat and water-soluble. Both categories differ in functioning, and therefore you must know the distinction. Water-soluble antioxidants function in the fluid inside and outside cells, whereas fat-soluble antioxidants act in cell membranes. Essential dietary antioxidants include;

  • Vitamin E: This fat-soluble antioxidant plays a vital role in protecting cell membranes against oxidative damage.
  • Vitamin C: This water-soluble antioxidant is a necessary dietary nutrient
  • Flavonoids: This category of plant antioxidants has multiple beneficial health effects.

Many compounds that are antioxidants also have other vital functions in the body. Notable examples include oleocanthal in extra virgin olive oil and curcuminoids in turmeric. These compounds function as antioxidants but also as anti-inflammatory alternatives. Several antioxidants occur in foods, including vitamin E, flavonoids, and vitamin C. Catechins, polyphenols, phytoestrogens, and flavones are all antioxidants and phytonutrients and are plant-based foods. Each antioxidant serves a different purpose and is not interchangeable with another.


Reduces the Risk of Infections

Antioxidants are compounds that can barricade or delay damage to cells caused by free radicals. These supplements remove free radicals from the body cells and forbid or lower the damage caused by oxidation. Processes and activities that lead to oxidative stress include excessive exercise, mitochondrial activity, tissue trauma due to injury and inflammation, smoking, industrial solvents, radiation, ozone, environmental pollution, and consumption of certain foods especially processed and refined.

The damage caused by oxidative stress is associated with atherosclerosis, cancer, and vision loss. Free radicals alter the cells that lead to those conditions. An intake of antioxidants is known to reduce these risks. Researchers say antioxidants act as electron donors, singlet oxygen quenchers, radical scavengers, enzyme inhibitors, metal-chelating agents, peroxide decomposers, and synergists.

A diet rich in antioxidants may reduce the chances of many diseases, including certain cancers and heart disease.  Some studies explain that men who consume plenty of antioxidant lycopene found in tomatoes may be less likely to develop prostate cancer. Flavonoids (such as catechins located in green tea) contribute to the reduced rates of heart disease in Japan. Lutein, contained in corn and spinach, has been associated with a low incidence of eye degeneration and vision loss in aged people.

Consumption of adequate antioxidant-rich whole food is paramount. Studies deduce that foods reduce oxidative damage more than supplements. The best way to ensure enough antioxidant intake is to follow a diet rich in different vegetables and fruits alongside other healthy habits. However, low–dose supplements like multivitamins can be beneficial if you are deficient in certain nutrients.

Dietary Tips

The following can help elevate antioxidant intake in the body:

  • Include a vegetable or fruit regularly in your meals
  • Take a cup of matcha or green tea regularly
  • Check the colors on your dish. Foods rich in colors such as beets, berries, and kales have more antioxidants than those with brown or beige color.
  • Use cumin, turmeric, oregano, clove, ginger, and cinnamon to spice up your meals’ flavor and antioxidant content.
  • Snack on seed, nuts, especially Brazil nuts, dried fruits, and sunflower seeds but those with no added salt or sugar. Besides, you could try these delicious recipes from a reliable source: spicy Thai lettuce wraps, cure-all juice, carrot cake powder smoothie, cherry-almond smoothie, Spicy cinnamon-ginger roasted carrots and chickpea, kale, and cashew superfood soup. There is no agreed daily allowance for antioxidants, but the high consumption of fresh plant-based produce is healthful.


The National Institutes of Health (NIH) summons that excess consumption of antioxidant supplements can be dangerous. Excessive consumption of beta-carotene has been linked with an increased risk of lung cancer in smokers. Excess dose of vitamin E is found to elevate the risk of prostate cancer, and the use of some antioxidant supplements have been associated with a greater risk of tumor growth.

Antioxidant supplements can interact with some medications. It is necessary to talk with your doctor before using any of these products. There might be some benefits for people with age-related macular degeneration, but it is paramount to seek a doctor’s counsel on using supplements.


Some benefits are linked with antioxidant intake in the body. Foods that contain antioxidants should be incorporated into the diet appropriately. As revealed, antioxidants help the body reduce the chances of chronic diseases like prostate and lung cancer. Also, there are ways of increasing its level in the body. Foods that help to maintain the level of antioxidants in the body should not be overlooked. However, some negative effects have been witnessed from excessive consumption of antioxidants. Consult medical personnel before using these supplements.

Crystal Kadir

MS, Durham University GP The work of a family doctor includes a wide range of clinical diversity, which requires extensive knowledge and erudition from a specialist. However, I believe that the most important thing for a family doctor is to be human because the cooperation and understanding between the doctor and the patient are crucial in ensuring successful health care. On my days off, I love being in nature. Since childhood, I have been passionate about playing chess and tennis. Whenever I have time off, I enjoy traveling around the world.