Antioxidants are a very important part of our health. Some occur naturally in the body and others are obtained by the foods that we consume. Antioxidants can improve your health by playing a vital role in removing free radical from your body by neutralizing them. Free radicals can produce a chain reaction that has damaging effects on cells. They are produced when the foods we eat are broken down. They can also occur from environmental factors such as by-products from cigarette smoke, radiation, and pesticides. Antioxidants are believed to be responsible in lower our risk of cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer's disease, osteoporosis, atherosclerosis, and macular degeneration. The best antioxidants can be obtained by eating the right foods. It is better to ingest fruit and vegetables rich in these substances than to supplement them with pills according to the research from the Mayo Clinic.

One type of antioxidant is carotene. Beta-carotene is a member of the carotenoid family as well as vitamin A. It has a red, orange, and yellow pigmentation. Beta-carotenes are found naturally in many fruits and vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes, peppers, collard greens, mustard greens, turnip greens, cherries, and plums. Herbs such as parsley, chives, paprika, and thyme to name a few contain a good source of this antioxidant. It can be converted in the body to vitamin A. Many think that it boost immunity and helps to prevent cataract formation and macular degeneration. It may lower the risk of heart disease and cancer. One study known as the Caret Study found that taking antioxidant supplements rather than eating a diet rich in beta-carotene increased the risk of lung cancer in smokers.

Lutein is another member of the carotenoid family and promotes good vision and healthy skin. It aids in fighting off free radicals produced by environmental factors such as the blue wavelengths of light found in the sun and indoor lighting. It helps in preventing the risk of macular degeneration as well. Lutein can be found in dark green leafy vegetables such as collard greens, turnip greens, and spinach. It is also found in egg yolks and corn. You need at least 6 - 10mg a day to reap the benefits of this wonderful antioxidant anti-aging property according to researchers.

Lycopene gives foods its red pigmentation and also decreases the risk of macular degeneration as well as lower the risk of cardio vascular disease. It helps prevent the oxidation of cholesterol therefore decreasing the risk of atherosclerosis. It may also reduces the risk of osteoporosis. Lycopene along with absorbic acid or vitamin C and be destroyed with prolonged cooking. It is better to eat these foods raw. Tomatoes, grapefruits, watermelons, and apricots are a good source of Lycopene.

Other great sources of antioxidants are selenium, vitamin A,C, and E can be found in foods such as carrots, swiss chard, sweet potatoes, brussel sprout, alfalfa, and passion fruit to name a few. Foods that contain Lutein, selenium, beta-carotene, and vitamin A, C, and E are kale, spinach, broccoli, collard greens, green peas, papayas, and butternut squash. So one of these foods will cover a wide range of antioxidants for you. Considering how much antioxidants can improve your health you need to add these to your diet for better health today, and see if you don't start to feel better tomorrow.