What Are Antioxidants?
Antioxidants are molecules, either man-made or natural, that prevent the oxidation of other molecules. Oxidation is a chemical reaction that produces free radicals. The presence of free radicals in the body can lead to damage of cells and genetic material. The human body produces its own antioxidants as part of its own defense mechanism against free radicals, and we also attain them from some of the foods we eat. There are likely thousands of different substances that can be labeled as antioxidants. The most familiar ones are vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, and minerals such as selenium and manganese. Vegetables, fruits, and green tea are rich sources of antioxidants. There are also supplements available that provide high doses of these molecules, however their benefits are uncertain and are actually linked with potential health risks. Thus, it is imperative to consult a physician or registered dietitian in order to determine how best to incorporate antioxidants int your diet and health regimen.