Our bodies call on natural stores of antioxidants to ward off free radicals and repair the damage caused by them. Antioxidants are found naturally in fruits and vegetables, which is why the health industry practically begs us to eat a balanced diet rich in fruits and veggies or at least take vitamins to supplement our diets.
The beauty industry has found a way to latch on the popularity of antioxidants. You'll see lotions and potions claiming to be "antioxidant-rich" and "full of antioxidants." These products are meant to turn back the hands of time, increase cell turnover, heal wounds, and repair loss of skin elasticity. It's true the skin can absorb the vitamins applied to skin, so there is much truth to these claims. The most powerful antioxidants are Vitamins A, B, C and E and essential fatty acids.
An antioxidant is simply a molecule that prevents another molecule from oxidizing. Since there are many processes in the body which result in oxidation, the intake of antioxidants is essential to counteract some of the negative results of the build up of too many oxidized molecules in the body. Free radicals are unstable molecules that are ferociously searching for their missing electrons and causing untold havoc along their way. Antioxidants fill those electron needs without becoming free radicals themselves.
Vitamin C is the most common water-soluble antioxidant while Vitamin E is one of the most common fat-soluble antioxidants. The major benefit of consuming antioxidants is that they seem to prevent and even reverse many kinds of cancer as well as heart disease and other deadly diseases. In addition to that, in case you need to know more than that, taking in large amounts of antioxidants seems to slow down the aging process. So run, do not walk, to your nearest farmer's market and stock up on these wonderful little molecules!
Since antioxidants are being widely studied for their beneficial properties, many pills are being marketed to fill consumer demand for these little cancer-fighting engines. The efficacy and safety of these supplements is in question however. Undoubtedly the best way to get antioxidants into your body is to eat them in raw fruits and vegetables (some beans and grains too).
Common Antioxidant Rich Raw Foods
All berries - especially blueberries, raspberries and strawberries
Green Vegetables - such as kale, broccoli, spinach and watercress