Nutrition Articles – Antioxidants

Anti-oxidants in Food? Tasty Concept.

If you are looking to improve health and prevent disease, try upping the antioxidants in your diet. Vitamin C, Vitamin E and Selenium are anti-oxidant nutrients that help counter the adverse effects of free radicals in your body. Free radicals can cause damage to cells leading to health problems such as heart disease, cancer, and cataracts.


Believe it or not, you do not have to run to a Pharmacy or Health Food Store and purchase Vitamin C, E and Selenium in a supplement form. Save your money and take a look in your fridge, these antioxidants may be easier to get than you think.


The best way to get Vitamin C is by eating plenty of fruits and vegetables. Canada’s Food Guide to Healthy Eating recommends 5-10 servings of fruits and vegetables daily. Key sources of Vitamin C include citrus fruits and their juices, kiwi fruit, strawberries, red and green peppers, broccoli and tomatoes. For the majority of Canadians, Vitamin C supplements are not necessary.

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Vitamin E is found in foods that may already be abundant in your diet such as vegetable oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, canola oil, olive oils, wheat germ oil and cottonseed oils. It is also found in peanut butter, nuts, seeds and leafy greens. It is very rare for a Canadian to be deficient in Vitamin E. Taking more than is recommended is not advised as research is inconclusive that high intakes prevent disease.


Selenium is also easy to get from food and most Canadians get adequate amounts. Key sources include Brazil nuts, meat, fish and poultry. Grains, dairy products and legumes provide small amounts. High doses of supplemental selenium are toxic and are therefore not recommended.


Following Canada’s Food Guide to Healthy Eating continues to be the gold standard for obtaining the nutrients you need in your diet (like anti-oxidants). Getting the recommended number of servings from each of the 4 food groups every day is easy because serving sizes are not as big as you think. If you get your antioxidants from food instead of supplements your body will thank you and so will your pocketbook.


For more information speak to a Registered Dietitian or contact the Thunder Bay District Health Unit for a free copy of Canada’s Food Guide. For additional information on the web, visit the Dietitians of Canada website at or the Thunder Bay District Health Unit website


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