Last update: June 11, 2024

3 minute read

What Are Antioxidants?

Discover the fascinating world of antioxidants. Explore their vital role in helping protect your body against harmful free radicals and how they contribute to your overall health.

Derick Rodriguez

By Derick Rodriguez, Associate Editor

Edited by Dr. Dimitar Marinov, MD, MBA, PhD

Learn more about our editorial standards

What exactly are antioxidants, and how do they function? Antioxidants are compounds that your body produces and also consumes from many dietary sources.

They play an important role in neutralizing harmful molecules known as free radicals, helping them avoid causing cellular damage that may lead to many health issues. But the story doesn't end there, as the science behind antioxidants is far more complex and fascinating.

Key takeaways

  • Antioxidants can help protect our bodies from harmful free radicals
  • Getting antioxidants naturally from whole foods is the best way to consume them
  • Cherry juice, tart cherry extract, and beetroot juice are natural ways to add antioxidants to your workout routine

    What are antioxidants?

    Antioxidants are compounds naturally produced by your body and can be obtained through food or supplements. These compounds defend our cells from damage caused by harmful molecules known as free radicals.

    How do antioxidants support your body?

    Antioxidants help to defend your body from free radicals that may harm cells and potentially contribute to diseases. Although some antioxidants are organically produced by your body, many are obtained through our diets or supplements. The available scientific evidence also suggests that antioxidant-rich diets may support lowering the risk of inflammation and certain diseases.

    VitaRx Tip

    Consuming antioxidant-rich foods like berries, nuts, and leafy greens helps make sure you get the right daily intake.

    Antioxidant-rich foods

    Antioxidant-rich foods include most herbs, fruits, and vegetables, but most notably:

    • Blueberries
    • Red kidney beans
    • Pinto beans
    • Blueberries
    • Cranberries
    • Blackberries
    • Prunes
    • Raspberries
    • Tea leaves
    • Coffee beans

    Natural vs. synthetic antioxidants

    Natural antioxidants are found in whole foods, like fruits and vegetables, while synthetic antioxidants are added to food products, like packaged snacks or breakfast cereals. Although synthetic antioxidants can extend the shelf life of food products, they may not be as effective as their natural counterparts.

    How do antioxidants improve your workout routine?

    Exercise can support the production of free radicals in the body, leading to oxidative stress and inflammation. Antioxidant consumption before or after exercise may help defend against this damage and support recovery time.

    Natural antioxidants like blueberries and leafy greens can also support physical performance. One study found that runners who consumed beetroot juice, rich in antioxidants, had a lower perceived level of exertion during exercise and improved performance compared to those who did not.

    A closer look at antioxidant supplementation

    While consuming various antioxidant-rich foods is crucial, adding antioxidant supplements can be an advantageous strategy for some. Studies have shown diverse results regarding their effectiveness and safety.

    Antioxidant supplements offer several benefits, including convenience for those who struggle to get enough from their diet. It's essential to consult a healthcare provider before beginning any supplement routine.

    VitaRx Tip

    However, excessive intake of certain antioxidants can be harmful, making a balanced approach essential.

    Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

    Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about antioxidants.

    Final thoughts

    Antioxidants are an essential part of maintaining optimal health. Though consuming them through whole foods is the best approach, supplements can offer additional support when needed.

    Antioxidant-rich foods and supplements can have many health benefits, including supporting athletic performance. So, are you ready to power up your health with more antioxidants?


    1. Free radicals, antioxidants and functional foods: Impact on human health - PMC
    2. Whole beetroot consumption acutely improves running performance
    3. Antioxidants of Natural Plant Origins: From Sources to Food Industry Applications - PMC


    Derick Rodriguez avatar

    Derick Rodriguez focuses on editing health and wellness-related content. With over half a decade of experience in the digital realm, Derick has developed a unique skill set that bridges the gap between complex health concepts and accessible, user-friendly communication. His approach is deeply rooted in leveraging personal experiences and insights to illuminate the nuances of health and wellness topics, making them more approachable and empowering readers with knowledge and confidence.

    Fact checker

    Dr. Dimitar Marinov avatar

    Dr. Marinov has years of experience in scientific research and preventive and clinical medicine. His publications in peer-reviewed journals are on nutritional status, physical activity, and musculoskeletal disorders among adolescents.

    At VitaRx, we're not just passionate about our work — we take immense pride in it. Our dedicated team of writers diligently follows strict editorial standards, ensuring that every piece of content we publish is accurate, current, and highly valuable. We don't just strive for quality; we aim for excellence.

    Related posts

    While you're at it, here are some other relevant articles you might be interested in.

    See all blog posts

    Get your personalized vitamin recommendations in less than
    5 minutes.

    Take the Health Quiz

    Get your personalized vitamin recommendations in less than
    5 minutes.

    Take the Health Quiz