The aim of antioxidant vitamins and supplements is to protect the body against the destructive effects of free radicals. The antioxidant vitamins A, C and E are the foremost for this purpose. Besides these, selenium, beta carotene, Vitamin B-6, Vitamin B-12, Folic acid, ginkgo biloba, grape seed extract and green tea extract are good to protect against the free radicals.
- Vitamin C
Vitamin C is the most abundant water-soluble antioxidant in the body that protects against the pollution and cigarette smoke.
Natural Food Sources of Vitamin C
Citrus fruits and their juices, berries (all types), dark green vegetables (spinach, asparagus, green peppers, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, watercress, other greens), peppers (capsicum), tomatoes, pineapple, cantaloupe, guava, mango and papaya.
- Vitamin E
Vitamin E is the most efficient fat-soluble antioxidant abundant in the body. It is the primary protector against oxidation.
Natural Food Sources of Vitamin E
Vegetable oils such as olive, soybean, corn, cottonseed, safflower
nuts, seeds, whole grains, wheat, wheat germ, brown rice, oatmeal, soybeans, legumes/beans/lentils, sweet potatoes and dark leafy green vegetables (spinach, asparagus, green peppers, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, watercress, other greens).
Natural Food Sources of Selenium
Brazil nuts, brewer's yeast, oats, oat bran, oatmeal, brown rice, chicken, eggs, dairy products, garlic, molasses, onions, salmon, seafood, tuna, wheat germ, whole grains, and most vegetables.
- Beta Carotene (a form of vitamin A)
Natural Food Sources of Beta Carotene
Vegetables of dark orange, red, yellow and green colors such as broccoli, carrots, kale, spinach, sweet potatoes, red and yellow pepper (capsicum); and fruits such as apricots, cantaloupe and mango.
Should you take antioxidant vitamins and supplements?
Many people want to take antioxidant vitamins A, C and E. Before taking large doses of these vitamins and supplements you should know that scientific studies does not indicate that by consuming antioxidant vitamins and supplement you will not need to reduce high blood pressure, lower cholesterol or reduce your weight.
The long-term effect of large doses of these nutrients is not known. In some cases, large doses of antioxidant dietary supplement can harm you. For example, beta carotene supplements may increase the risk of lung cancer for smokers. The American Heart Association does not recommend taking antioxidant vitamin supplements until detailed results are available.
The best way to give your body the needed antioxidants is to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables. In certain medical conditions, however, your doctor may recommend to supplement your diet with antioxidants.
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