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Antioxidants are a group of vitamins and minerals that protect your body against oxidation. Oxidation results in the production of free radicals, which can damage cells in the body and can lead to health problems such as cancer and heart disease. Antioxidants are in a range of foods, particularly in brightly-coloured fruits and vegetables, however, you can also purchase antioxidant supplements. These antioxidant supplements often claim to reduce the effects of aging and protect your body from disease. Let’s turn to research to see if antioxidant supplementation is worthwhile.
Currently, no research has found that antioxidant supplementation is able to decrease mortality (rate of death), with some research showing that some antioxidants can slightly increase mortality. The current evidence surrounding antioxidant supplementation does not support the use of antioxidant supplementation for the general population or for people with various diseases.
It is still important to get plenty of antioxidants in your diet and you should do this by eating plenty of whole foods e.g. vegetables and fruits, nuts, seeds and legumes as recommended by the NZ Ministry of Health.