What is an antioxidant?
According to WebMD, antioxidants are, “vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that protect and repair cells from damage caused by free radicals.”
What is a free radical?
The National Institute of Health describes free radicals as “molecules produced when your body breaks down food, or by environmental exposures like tobacco smoke and radiation. [They] can damage cells, and may play a role in heart disease, cancer and other diseases.”
With ever increasing exposure to pollution, toxins, radiation, and chemicals in today’s world, it is growing more important to take preventative measures towards protecting our health, and the health of our loved ones.
Although it is best to use food as medicine by obtaining antioxidants through fresh fruit, vegetables, and other food sources, they can also be obtained from supplements.
Antioxidants can be found in many forms including beta-carotene, lycopene, vitamins A, C, and E, as well as glutathione, CoQ10, lipoic acid, and flavonoids, among others.
These can be found in a variety of food sources including green, leafy vegetables, a variety of fruits, nuts, and other whole food sources.
Cancer.gov cites the first large randomized trial on antioxidants and cancer risk study in China published in 1993. This study investigated the effects of multiple antioxidants on individuals at high risk for gastric cancer.
The study concluded that supplementing with a "combination of beta-carotene, vitamin E, and selenium" significantly reduced the incidence of gastric and overall cancer.
Anti-Aging and Skin Protection:
Antioxidants can be used for sun protection when taken orally or applied topically. One study showed that individuals who ate tomato paste (plentiful in the antioxidant lycopene) on a daily basis, had 33 percent more protection against sunburn than those who did not.
One study showed that although you may utilize antioxidants for sun protection both topically and orally, “the effect from using the cream lasted for only 10 days after stopping treatment, [while] the results from taking the supplement were sustained for up to 5 weeks.”