• 10 Essential Antioxidants for Glowing Skin
  • HealthNutritionRootologyWellness
10 Essential Antioxidants for Glowing Skin


While free radicals aren’t all detrimental (in fact, oxidation is necessary for life), the accumulation of free radicals—if we don’t have enough antioxidants to deal with them—brings on oxidative stress. As the National Center for Biotechnology Information (the division of the National Institute of Health that specializes in molecular biology) puts it, oxidative stress “plays a major part in the development of chronic and degenerative illness such as cancer, autoimmune disorders, aging, cataract, rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases.” A.k.a., all the things we don’t want.

Plants and animals all have some naturally occurring antioxidants and enzymes that minimize or repair the damage to our cells from oxidative stress, but the more we’re exposed to harmful free radicals and the more they build up, the harder it is for the body to keep up.

Plant-based foods (fruits, vegetables and their juices, whole grains, nuts, seeds, herbs and spices, and even chocolate) are the best sources, although they are also found in meat, seafood and dairy. As a bonus, many antioxidant-rich foods are high in fiber, low in saturated fat and cholesterol, and good sources of vitamins and minerals.

Antioxidants are also effective when applied topically and they just as important for skin, eyes and hair as they are for our other organs and systems, which is why you also see them in beauty products and sunscreens. (You’ll often see vitamins A, C or E included in face creams and serums; zinc is an antioxidant in many sunscreens.)

    10 Types and Sources of Antioxidants

    There are dozens of antioxidants, and they come in many different forms and names. Some are vitamins and minerals that you might recognize, some are more obscure compounds. Here are 10 common ones, including where in nature they occur and how you can get more of their free-radical-fighting benefits, inside and out.

    1. Allium sulphur | Sources: leeks, onions, garlic

    2. Beta carotene | Sources: pumpkin, mangoes, apricots, carrots, spinach, parsley

    3. Catechins | Sources: red wine, tea

    4. Flavonoids | Sources: tea, dark chocolate, red wine, citrus fruits, onion, apples, pomegranate

    5. Lycopene | Sources: tomatoes, pink grapefruit, watermelon

    6. Vitamin C | Sources: oranges, berries, kiwi, mangoes, broccoli, spinach, peppers

    7. Vitamin E | Sources: vegetable oils, nuts, avocados, seeds, whole grains

    8. Cryptoxanthins | Sources: red peppers, pumpkin, mangoes

    9. Indoles | Sources: cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and kale

    10. Anthocyanins | Sources: eggplant, grapes, berries

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