How Antioxidants Work
Antioxidants minimize damage to your cells from free radicals.
Getting the Right Mix of Antioxidants
The body needs a mix of vitamins and minerals, such as vitamins A, C, E, and
beta-carotene, to neutralize this free radical assault.
"We can't rely on a few blockbuster foods to do the job," says
Blumberg. "You can't eat nine servings of broccoli a day and expect it to
do it all. We need to eat many different foods. Each type works in different
tissues of the body, in different parts of cells. Some are good at quenching
some free radicals, some are better at quenching others. When you have
appropriate amounts of different antioxidants, you're doing what you can to
Multivitamins and vitamin supplements can provide the body with an
antioxidant boost. Yet getting too much of some supplements, like vitamin E,
can be harmful. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts contain
complex mixes of antioxidants, and therein lies the benefit of eating a variety
of healthy foods, says Blumberg.
Researchers continue delving into the mysteries of fruits and vegetables,
identifying the complex antioxidants they contain. Quercetin, luteolin,
hesperetin, catetchin, even (-)-epigallocetechin are some of the stars they
have found -- the blockbuster flavonoids in our foods.
"Sure, you can live your whole life without getting epicatechin
3-gallate, a flavonoid found in huge quantities in green tea," says
Blumberg. "But if having it in your diet promotes better health, why not