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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Diet and Nutrition > Antioxidants: Functions and Sources


Antioxidants | Functions and Sources

What food source is the nutrient found in?

Foods high in beta-carotene include most red, dark orange, and deep yellow fruits, such as:

  • carrots
  • sweet potatoes
  • pumpkins
  • apricots
  • cantaloupe
  • peaches
  • broccoli
  • Foods high in vitamin C include:

  • citrus fruits, such as grapefruit, oranges, and tangerines
  • asparagus
  • broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • bell peppers
  • kiwi
  • strawberries
  • tomatoes
  • potatoes with skin
  • Foods high in vitamin E include:

  • nuts
  • seeds
  • almonds
  • wheat germ
  • vegetable oils
  • whole grains
  • Foods high in selenium include:

  • seafood
  • organ meats
  • lean meats
  • poultry
  • low-fat dairy products
  • whole grains
  • How does the nutrient affect the body?

    Oxidation is the reason why a cut-up apple turns brown, or why vegetable oil turns rancid. Oxidation is caused by chemicals called free radicals. Just as in the apple and oil, when oxidation occurs in the body can lead to the onset of problems. The following events can lead to the creation of free radicals in your body or expose you to them in the environment.

  • breathing
  • the break down of protein that you've eaten
  • inhaling cigarette smoke
  • exposure to air pollution
  • UV radiation
  • A healthy body can usually break down free radicals before they become harmful. If free radicals form faster than the body can break them down, damage to cells and tissues can occur.

    Antioxidants help counteract the damage caused by free radicals in two ways.

  • They help the body prevent the formation of free radicals in the first place.
  • They can reduce the effect that free radicals have on the body.
  • Then the free radicals cannot damage cells and tissues or cause health problems.

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    Antioxidants: Overview & Description


    Author: Kelly Streit, MS, RD, LD
    Reviewer: Kathleen A. MacNaughton, RN, BSN
    Date Reviewed: 09/30/02

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