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The Benefits of Antioxidants

Healthy foods with antioxidants in bowls

You’ve probably heard of antioxidants before. In fact, you may even have noticed that certain fruit juices or fresh produce say they are “high in antioxidants” on the label. But what exactly are antioxidants, and what are the benefits in consuming them? Read more to learn about antioxidants and the many benefits of taking antioxidants.

What are antioxidants?

The term “antioxidant” generally refers to any compound that can counteract unstable molecules called free radicals that damage DNA, cell membranes, and other parts of the cell.1 Free radicals can be very damaging, but they are not the easiest things to stay away from. While environmental causes can be avoided to some extent, some free radicals are generated from normal activities that either can’t or shouldn’t be avoided. For instance, some normal production of free radicals occurs during exercise.1 By regularly consuming foods and beverages with antioxidants, you can help counteract free radicals and help keep your cells healthy.

The best way to consume antioxidants is through food.2 Some foods that are high in antioxidants include berries, citrus fruits, and cruciferous vegetables (such as broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts), and these foods come with many other benefits besides being antioxidants.2

What are classified as antioxidants, and what are their benefits?

Many well-known vitamins and minerals are classified as antioxidants. Some examples of antioxidants include vitamins C and E, selenium, zinc, and manganese.3 These types of antioxidants come with their own benefits along with antioxidant properties.

Benefits of vitamin C

Perhaps one of the most well-known antioxidants is vitamin C. Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, is a nutrient your body needs to form blood vessels, cartilage, muscles, and collagen in bones.4 You can get your daily fill of vitamin C through foods such as citrus fruits, berries, tomatoes, peppers, and cabbage, and you can also find vitamin C in dietary supplements.4

Benefits of vitamin E

Vitamin E is a nutrient that’s important to vision, reproduction, and the health of your blood, brain, and skin.5 Foods rich in vitamin E include olive oil, almonds, and peanuts, and vitamin E can also be found in meats, dairy, leafy greens, and fortified cereals.5

Benefits of selenium

Selenium is a trace element with antioxidant properties that is nutritionally essential for humans and plays critical roles in reproduction and DNA synthesis.6 The foods with the highest concentration of selenium are Brazil nuts, seafoods, and meats, but other foods that contain selenium include cereals and other grains and dairy products.6

Benefits of zinc

Zinc is a nutrient that can be found throughout your body supporting your immune system and metabolism. You can find zinc in fortified breakfast cereals, chicken, red meat, and tofu.7

Benefits of manganese

Manganese is a trace mineral that can be found in your bones, liver, kidneys, and pancreas. Manganese is a component in superoxide dismutase, which is an enzyme with antioxidant properties. Whole grains, nuts, and seeds all include manganese, but an estimated 37% of Americans are not getting the recommended dietary intake of this important mineral.8

There are so many different ways to consume all the vitamins and minerals you need to help keep your body healthy and counteract free radicals. Find tips on how to prepare healthy foods and incorporate important nutrients into your diet with nutritional wellness tips from Emergen-C.

What other ways can you consume antioxidants?

As mentioned before, the best way to consume antioxidants is through a healthy diet. When planning for your next meals, be sure to incorporate a variety of fruits and vegetables that are high in vitamins C, E, and selenium. In addition to your healthy diet, try supplements that contain antioxidants. Dietary supplements shouldn’t replace healthy fruits and vegetables when you’re working towards getting your daily serving of antioxidants. If you are taking supplements, don’t forget to continue eating plenty of fruits and vegetables to get the nutrients you need.

Emergen-C has lots of different great-tasting supplements with antioxidants for every occasion. Help support your immune system with Enhanced Immune Support Formula products.* You can also try Energy + Blueberry Acai with fortifying Vitamin C and natural caffeine from green tea to help focus your mind, or Emergen-ZZZZ, a nighttime sleep aid‡ with Vitamin C and other key antioxidants† to fortify you while you sleep.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

‡Emergen-ZZZZ is a dietary supplement for occasional sleeplessness.

†Vitamin C, Zinc, and Manganese

SOURCES

  1. Understanding antioxidants. Harvard Health Publishing. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/understanding-antioxidants  Accessed 07/01/2021.
  2. A Grocery Bag of Beneficial Antioxidants. Mayo Clinic. https://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/a-grocery-bag-of-beneficial-antioxidants/  Accessed 07/01/2021.
  3. Antioxidants: In Depth. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/antioxidants-in-depth  Accessed 07/01/2021.
  4. Vitamin C. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements-vitamin-c/art-20363932  Accessed 07/01/2021.
  5. Vitamin E. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements-vitamin-e/art-20364144  Accessed 07/01/2021.
  6. Selenium. National Institutes of Health. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Selenium-HealthProfessional/  Accessed 07/01/2021.
  7. Zinc. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements-zinc/art-20366112. Accessed 11/8/2021.
  8. Manganese Information. Mount Sinai - New York. https://www.mountsinai.org/health-library/supplement/manganese. Accessed 11/8/2021.