Cancer Treatment Centers of America

Antioxidants get an A+

Author: CTCA Nutrition Team

Whether you have been diagnosed with cancer and you’re interested in eating to boost your immunity and help with recovery or you’re simply looking to improve your diet in the interest of overall wellness and prevention, you’ll want to be aware of a powerful player in the nutrient lineup: antioxidants.

Antioxidants are compounds that protect cells from damage to their genetic material caused by agents known as free radicals. This type of damage to cells may increase the risk of developing cancer. Studies have shown that consuming an antioxidant-rich diet can play a significant role in reducing the risk of cancer as well as other conditions, such as heart disease. An antioxidant-rich diet should not only include the recommended five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables but also feature generous servings of legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.

Here is a list of some of the most common antioxidants and where they can be found:

Carotenoids are found in fruits and vegetables that are orange, dark green, deep yellow, and red. Examples include bell peppers, carrots, spinach, kale, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and oranges.

Bioflavonoids are found in citrus fruits, whole grains, soy, berries, honey, tea, and other plant foods.

Vitamin C can be found in fruits and vegetables such as kiwis, strawberries, cantaloupe, papaya, oranges, tangerines, grapefruit, tomatoes, pineapple, red and green peppers, sweet potatoes, kale, kohlrabi, and broccoli.

Ellagic acid is found in numerous fruits, nuts, and vegetables, including blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, cranberries, pomegranates, wolfberries, walnuts, pecans, and other plant foods.

Anthocyanidins are found in black and red currents, red cabbage, eggplant, blueberries, and açai berries.

Selenium is found in Brazil nuts, fish, poultry, meat, and whole grains.

Lycopene is found in tomatoes, grapefruit, watermelon, and papaya.

Vitamin E (gamma-tocopherols) is found in walnuts, peanuts, and pecans.

Seek out antioxidants whenever possible, and look for recipes, like chicken with mango salsa on the following page, that incorporate these powerful players.