A is for Antioxidants


By Megan Barnes, Dietetic Intern

Antioxidants are substances that help fight against free radicals and the damage they cause to cells in our body. Free radical damage can come from a variety of sources: UV light, smoking, alcohol, radiation, fried foods, and air pollutants. Different antioxidants are found in a variety of fruits and vegetables including vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, and carotenoids. There are supplements available for these antioxidants but should never be used a replacement for a healthy diet. Ask your primary care physician about any antioxidants you use or are thinking about using.

Fun Fact: Spices are high in antioxidants! One study concluded that clove had the highest mean antioxidant value followed by peppermint, allspice, cinnamon, oregano, thyme, sage, rosemary, saffron, and estragon. Spices and herbs are one of the largest categories that contain high amounts of antioxidants and plant-based foods are found to be generally higher in antioxidants all around compared to animal-based products.¹

  1. Paur I, Carlsen MH, Halvorsen BL, et al. Antioxidants in Herbs and Spices: Roles in Oxidative Stress and Redox Signaling. In: Benzie IFF, Wachtel-Galor S, editors. Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition. Boca Raton (FL): CRC Press/Taylor & Francis; 2011. Chapter 2. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92763/