Making Sense of Antioxidants

Making Sense of Antioxidants

With so much talk about antioxidants and how great they are, many of us are left wondering how we can get these wonderful compounds in our bodies. I found this helpful table in the September 2008 issue of Today’s Dietitian magazine.

Beta-Carotene
Found in: Orange and yellow fruits and vegetables such as carrots and cantaloupe; dark leafy greens such as spinach and kale
Benefits: Beta-carotene was long believed to help prevent cataracts, although today the research appears to be more conflicted, and scientists say more research is needed.

Lutein
Found in: Leafy greens such as spinach; corn, carrots, and squash
Benefits: Research indicates that lutein may help lower the risk of developing cataracts and macular degeneration.

Lycopene
Found in: Red, fleshy fruits and vegetables such as watermelon and tomatoes
Benefits: Diets rich in lycopene may help protect against heart disease.

Selenium
Found in: Seafood, lean meats, and whole grains
Benefits: Research often suggests that selenium may have a preventive effect against cancer.

Vitamin A
Found in: Animal sources such as eggs, meat, and dairy
Benefits: Research indicates that vitamin A promotes clear and healthy vision. It also helps form and maintain healthy teeth, skeletal, and soft tissue and skin.

Vitamin C
Found in: Citrus fruits such as oranges and grapefruit; bell peppers and broccoli
Benefits: Among its many functions, vitamin C can aid tissue growth and repair, adrenal gland function, and wound repair. It may also help cure or prevent colds by boosting the immune system.

Vitamin E
Found in: Wheat germ, nuts (i.e. almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts), and monounsaturated oils (i.e. sunflower oil)
Benefits: Preliminary research has led to a widely held belief that vitamin E may help prevent or delay coronary artery disease.