Antioxidants protect cells against free radicals, which are unstable substances found in the environment. According to the National Cancer Institute, damage from free radicals can lead to cancer. There is laboratory evidence that antioxidants may slow and even prevent cancer. Examples of antioxidants found in food sources include beta-carotene, lycopene and vitamins A, C and E. These are ten top sources of antioxidants.
Broccoli belongs to the cruciferous family of vegetables which also includes cauliflower, cabbage and Brussels sprouts. It is also a source of beta-carotene. Cruciferous vegetables contain the potent antioxidant, indole-3- carbinol, which breaks down estrogen. This reduces the risk of breast, ovarian and cervical cancers.
Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, which is a potent antioxidant that is twice as powerful as beta-carotene. Tomatoes reduce the risk of prostate, lung, colon and breast cancer. They contain glutathione, which is an antioxidant that boosts the immune system. Two tips on how to get the maximum health benefits from tomatoes- cook tomatoes and dress with olive oil. Heat releases more desirable antioxidants and oil improves absorption because lycopene is fat-soluble.
Beneficial berries contain two cancer fighting agents. Blueberries, raspberries and blackberries are rich in proanthocyanidin, which is an antioxidant that protects against cancer and heart disease. Strawberries, raspberries and blackberries contain ellagic acid which is a plant compound that fights carcinogens.
Some studies show that an increase intake of garlic causes a reduced risk of developing gastrointestinal cancers, such as stomach, colon, pancreatic and esophageal cancers. Garlic belongs to the Allium class of plants contains flavonoids and selenium which have potential health benefits.
Carrots contain beta-carotene which is also found in other yellow- orange vegetables such as sweet potatoes. Research from the United Kingdom found that carrots contain the anti-cancer compound, falcarinol. It is believed that cooking the carrots whole before cutting provide the highest levels of falcarinol.