According to the National Cancer Institute, antioxidants are chemicals that block the activity of other chemicals known as free radicals. Free radicals are highly reactive and have the potential to cause damage to cells, including damage that may lead to cancer.
Antioxidants are made naturally by the body, and you can get more through food and other dietary supplements.
Pamela Ofstein, a registered dietitian who owns and operates a private nutrition practice in Florida, says by eating foods rich in antioxidants, it's possible to prevent some diseases, enhance our immune system and reduce the physical effects of aging.
"Incorporating low-fat, plant-based foods can be essential to wellness and disease prevention," Ofstein says. "Overall, there isn't one food that can help prevent disease, but healthy diets overall are important for general well-being and weight control."
Ofstein offers some ways to add antioxidants to your diet:
90 percent: Ninety percent of North American adults report using caffeine every day. Studies suggest that small doses of caffeine — whether a warm cup of tea or half cup of coffee — help you think more clearly and feel calm, enhancing mental performance.
Cardoon: A cardoon is a vegetable, also known as the artichoke thistle, that looks a bit like celery on a bad day and has a flavor reminiscent of artichoke hearts and salsify. Popular in Italy, Spain and France, the cardoon is related to the Globe artichoke.