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Antioxidants slow or prevent the oxidation of other molecules. They are found in many different kinds of foods and can also be taken in the form of supplements. When molecules start to oxidize, they produce free radicals. This process can damage biological reactions and the cells too. Antioxidants serve to absorb this oxidation. They also contribute to the molecule redox process as a reducing agent. A reducing agent is a substance that causes another substance to undergo reduction, while becoming oxidized in the process.
 
The most common antioxidants include vitamin A, vitamin C, lutein, carotenoids, lycopene, vitamin E and selenium. These are dietary substances and can be found in foods as well as supplements. The antioxidants that are most important to the body's needs are found in natural foods such as fruits, vegetables, grains and nuts.
 
Antioxidants may slow the growth of cancer, according to many scientific studies. In addition to reducing the risk of diseases, antioxidants may slow the aging process, while also promoting healthy skin. There is some evidence that also concludes that antioxidants may improve your immune system. This end result is achieved by giving your body stronger resistance against diseases. Overall, antioxidants are a very important part of your body's natural defenses against disease and other ailments. They are an important ingredient to overall health and it is important that your body gets the proper amount through proper diet and/or supplements.
 
Antioxidants are primarily found in fruits and vegetables; however, nuts and grains are also full of them. Beta-carotene is an antioxidant as well. This is found in foods that have an orange color. Examples of this would include carrots and sweet potatoes. It promotes healthy vibrant skin and can also aid in controlling certain types of cancer. Lycopene is another antioxidant. It can be found in tomatoes and other fruits such as papaya, guava, and grapefruit. Lycopene has been found to help stop the growth of tumors. Dark leafy vegetables contain lutein, which is another important antioxidant. Lutein is concentrated in the retinas of your eyes. It is necessary for good vision and a diet rich in lutein may lower your risk of being susceptible to developing cataracts and macular degeneration. Rice contains an antioxidant ingredient, which is called selenium. Selenium deficiency has been linked to causing certain types of cancers.
 
Vitamin A is an important antioxidant that can be found in liver, carrots and dairy. It helps your eyes adjust to light sensitivity and also keeps your mucus membranes moist. Vitamin C is commonly referred to as ascorbic acid and it can be found in citrus fruits, poultry, cereals and fish. Vitamin C helps promote healthy skin. Vitamin E is contained in almonds and other cooking oils, such as safflower and corn. Vitamin E helps the circulatory system by helping the blood to clot more effectively. The flovonoids are an antioxidant that may help lower the risk of heart disease. They are primarily found in fruits but also reside in vegetables, grains, almonds, apples and bran. Green tea and coffee also contains flavonoids.