Antioxidants The components of food with antioxidant activities are vitamins A, C, and E; β-carotene; the mineral selenium; and lycopene. Antioxidant vitamins [E, C and beta carotene a form of vitamin A] have potential health-promoting properties. Antioxidants prevent or slow the oxidative damage to our body. When our body cells use oxygen, they naturally produce free radicals (by-products) which can cause damage. Antioxidants act as "free radical scavengers" and hence prevent and repair damage done by these free radicals. Many antioxidants are often identified in food by their distinctive colors, the deep red of cherries and of tomatoes; the orange of carrots; the yellow of corn, mangos, and saffron; and the blue-purple of blueberries, blackberries, and grapes. It is best to obtain these antioxidants from foods instead of supplements. Also minimize the smoking. Plant foods (fruits, vegetables, whole grains) contain these components that are beneficial to our health. These foods in diet are capable to delay the onset of many age-related diseases. The best way to ensure adequate intake of the antioxidant nutrients is through a balanced diet also containing servings of raw fruits and vegetables. We must eat a variety of nutrient rich foods regularly from all the basic food groups. Eating a variety of foods low in saturated fat will provide a natural source of these vitamins, minerals and fiber. Health problems such as heart disease, macular degeneration, diabetes, cancer etc are all contributed by oxidative damage. Regular use of fruits and vegetables reduces the risk of several fatal diseases. Antioxidants may also enhance immune defense and therefore lower the risk of cancer and infection.

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