Antioxidants are vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that protect and repair cells from damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are unstable atoms that damage cells and contribute to disease and aging. Many experts believe these damaged cells play a part in a number of chronic diseases, including cancer, arthritis, hardening of the arteries, and many more. Free radicals can also interfere with the immune system.

The three major antioxidant vitamins are:

  • beta-carotene

  • vitamin C

  • vitamin E

You’ll find these antioxidants in colorful fruits and vegetables – especially those with purple, blue, red, orange, and yellow hues. To receive the greatest benefits, eat these foods raw or lightly steamed. Overcooking or boiling destroys many of the nutrients.

Important Points

  • Exercising too much can damage cells and create huge amounts of free radicals within the body. If exercise is increased, nutrient intake should also be increased.

  • Over-the-counter stomach acid-blocking drugs can reduce the absorption of antioxidants. Switching to an herbal antacid like cool chamomile or peppermint teas is better. If more stomach acid is needed, take 2 to 3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar or sauerkraut juice just before taking antioxidants.


Reinhard, Tonia. Superfoods: The Healthiest Foods on the Planet. Buffalo, NY: Firefly, 2010. Print.

Zelman, K. M., MPH, RD, LD. (2019, October 18). Foods, antioxidants, vitamins, & supplements for immune system health. Retrieved March 09, 2021, from

Heinerman, John. Dr. Heinerman’s Encyclopedia of Nature’s Vitamins and Minerals. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1998. Print.