How Antioxidants and Antioxidant-rich Foods Help?


Medically reviewed by

Bajaj Finserv Health


4 min read

Key Takeaways

  • Antioxidants reduce oxidative stress in your body, preventing diseases
  • Antioxidant-rich foods boost the immune system and brain health
  • Include antioxidant-rich fruits like orange, grapes, & kiwi in your diet

During the pandemic, you must have come across the word antioxidants. A lot was written about how they boost your immunity against COVID-19. Before adding antioxidant-rich foods to your diet, learn a little more about them. 

Antioxidants are also called free-radical scavengers. They protect your body tissues from free-radical damage by decomposing or scavenging them [1]. An increased number of free radicals in your body results in oxidative stress. This can influence the occurrence of chronic illnesses like [2]:

  • Diabetes
  • Autoimmune conditions
  • Cancer
  • Rheumatoid arthritis 

Antioxidants produced by the body help limit the growth of free radicals. Your body also gets antioxidants from foods. So you must add fruits and vegetables high in antioxidants into your diet.

Read on to learn about antioxidants, their benefits, and the best antioxidant supplements.

Additional Read: Best Vitamins and Supplements to Boost Immune SystemAntioxidant-rich Foods to boost immunity

How Do Free Radicals Function?

Though free radicals can be harmful, they are still necessary in a limited amount. The body uses free radicals for essential functions. For example, immune cells use free radicals to fight infections in the body. 

Excess free radicals can cause many health complications, and can be fatal. So, it is important for you to maintain a balance between free radicals and antioxidants. Surplus free radicals can put your body into oxidative stress. Prolonged stress can damage your DNA and even cause cells to die. 

Free radical formation can stem from the following dietary, environmental, and lifestyle factors. 

  • Excess alcohol and tobacco intake
  • Air pollution
  • Toxins
  • Fungal, viral or bacterial infections
  • Intense exercising for long periods, causing tissue damage
  • Excess or lack of oxygen to the body
  • Consumption of foods high in polyunsaturated fats 
  • Increase in your blood sugar levels
  • Lack of antioxidants
  • Excess intake of fruits and vegetables rich in Vit C and E
  • Excess consumption of foods rich in zinc, iron, magnesium, or copper
  • Exposure to toxins and radiation

What Are the Types of Antioxidants and Antioxidant-Rich Foods?

Phytonutrients are chemicals found in plants. One of their many benefits is increasing antioxidant activity in your body. There are more than 25,000 types of phytonutrients. Here are some of the most common ones and their details.

  • Anthocyanins 

One of the benefits of blueberries is that they contain anthocyanins. These antioxidants help improve blood vessel health. Asparagus, eggplants, and carrots also have these antioxidants.

  • Lutein

A type of organic pigment, lutein is the precursor to Vitamin A and beta carotene. Some benefits of beta carotene include improved eye and bone health and immunity. Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and collard greens are all have lutein.

  • Resveratrol

These antioxidants improve heart health, prevent some types of cancers, and reduce inflammation. Grapes, dark chocolates, and red wine have it.

  • Lycopene

Consuming this results in improved heart and prostate health. Tomatoes, watermelon, and pink grapefruit offer abundant lycopene.

  • Isoflavones

Soya bean, a superfood to boost immunity, is replete with these antioxidants. They prevent the development of breast cancer, reduce inflammation, and improve bone health.

What Are the Vitamin and Mineral Sources of Antioxidants?

Vitamins and minerals also boost antioxidant activities in your body. Here are some you can add to your diet.

Vitamin CVitamin E
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Peanuts
  • Pumpkin
  • Almonds
  • Spinach
  • Oysters
  • Shiitake mushrooms
  • Sesame seeds
  • Lobster
  • Swiss chard
  • Fish
  • Brazil nuts
  • Oatmeal
  • Eggs
  • Baked beans
How Antioxidants and Antioxidant-rich Foods -1Zinc
  • Legumes
  • Hemp seeds
  • Cashewnuts
  • Whole grains
  • Dark chocolate
Additional Read: Superfoods That Help Boost Immunity

What Are the Benefits of Antioxidants?

Antioxidants help prevent excess free radicals in your body. With them, you can ensure that oxidative stress doesn’t build up in your body. Some of the other benefits of antioxidants include:

  • Prevention of age-related macular degeneration
  • Lowering your risk of cancer
  • Improvement in your heart health
  • A good skin and brain health

Should You Opt for an Antioxidant Supplement?

If you have dietary restrictions, you can supplement your intake of antioxidants. However, excess consumption of isolated antioxidants can prove unhealthy. So, it is best to get your antioxidants from antioxidant-rich fruits and veggies. 

Speak to an expert to ensure that any changes in your diet do not affect you negatively. You can book an online appointment with a specialist on Bajaj Finserv Health. With their help, you can incorporate the right antioxidant-rich foods into your diet, and boost your immunity.

Published on 4 Jan 2022Last updated on 2 Jan 2023

Please note that this article is solely meant for informational purposes and Bajaj Finserv Health Limited (“BFHL”) does not shoulder any responsibility of the views/advice/information expressed/given by the writer/reviewer/originator. This article should not be considered as a substitute for any medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult with your trusted physician/qualified healthcare professional to evaluate your medical condition. The above article has been reviewed by a qualified doctor and BFHL is not responsible for any damages for any information or services provided by any third party.


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