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Slide show: Add antioxidants to your dietBy Mayo Clinic staff
Antioxidants: Why are they important?
Antioxidants are substances that may protect your cells against the effects of free radicals. Free radicals are molecules produced when your body breaks down food, or by environmental exposures like tobacco smoke and radiation. Free radicals can damage cells, and may play a role in heart disease, cancer and other diseases. Studies suggest that a diet high in antioxidants from fruits and vegetables is associated with a lower risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease.
As a bonus, foods high in antioxidants are high in fiber, low in saturated fat and cholesterol, and are good sources of other vitamins and minerals. So which foods have the most antioxidants?Next slide
- Antioxidant supplements for health: An introduction. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. http://nccam.nih.gov/health/antioxidants/. Accessed Oct. 19, 2010.
- Medical Edge. Food sources the best choice for antioxidants. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2009. http://www.mayoclinic.org/medical-edge. Accessed Oct. 19, 2010.
- Nelson JK (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Oct. 21, 2010.
- Oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) of selected foods, 2010. U.S. Department of Agriculture. http://www.ars.usda.gov/nutrientdata/orac. Accessed Oct. 22, 2010.