In laboratory and animal studies, the presence of increased levels of exogenous antioxidants has been shown to prevent the types of free radical damage that have been associated with cancer development. Therefore, researchers have investigated whether taking dietary antioxidant supplements can help lower the risk of developing or dying from cancer in humans.
Many observational studies, including case–control studies and cohort studies, have been conducted to investigate whether the use of dietary antioxidant supplements is associated with reduced risks of cancer in humans. Overall, these studies have yielded mixed results . Because observational studies cannot adequately control for biases that might influence study outcomes, the results of any individual observational study must be viewed with caution.
Why Foods are the Best Sources of Antioxidants
We have some new data to help answer that question. Researchers recently analyzed total dietary antioxidant capacity and the risk of stomach cancer, the world’s second leading cancer killer. A half million people were studied, and dietary antioxidant capacity intake from different sources of plant foods was indeed associated with a reduction in risk. Note that they say dietary intake; they’re not talking about supplements.
Not only do antioxidant pills not seem to help, they seem to increase overall mortality—that’s like paying to live a shorter life. Just giving high doses of isolated vitamins may cause disturbances in our body’s own natural antioxidant network. There are hundreds of different antioxidants in plant foods. They don’t act in isolation; they work synergistically.
5 Natural Antioxidant-Rich Foods
Tomatoes are brimming with the antioxidant lycopene which is more potent in cooked tomatoes. To get the most lycopene out of your fresh tomatoes, turn them into gazpacho, tomato sauce or jam.
Antixoidants: Vitamin A, vitamin C, lycopene
This green leafy bunch of goodness is one of the top sources of the antioxidant lutein, which helps protect your eyes.
Antioxidants: Beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin
Did you know that a bell pepper has more vitamin C than an orange? Red peppers have even more vitamin C than the green ones.
Antioxidants: Vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E
This summer fave has a handful of antioxidants including zeaxanthin, which helps protect your eyes. Dig in 30 different ways.
Antioxidants: Vitamin C, lutein, zeaxanthin
One cup (chopped) of this powerhouse veggie has 206% of your daily recommended dose of vitamin A and 134%of your daily recommended dose of vitamin C.
Antioxidants: Vitamin A, vitamin C, lutein