Antioxidants are a good thing. They are part of plants which have various other phytochemicals. However, more does not equal better!
Antioxidants are good when they are in food form. Just like anything else, problems can arise when you start taking concentrated versions of it. Our bodies prefer to get nutrients in the concentrations that they are grown!
Antioxidants. What are they?
Antioxidants are components in foods that eliminate free radicals in the body.
Examples of antioxidants are…
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
All of these are found in fruits and vegetables. For example:
- Beta-carotene and vitamin A are found in orange vegetables like sweet potatoes and carrots
- Lycopene is found in red tomatoes
- Lutein is found in green, leafy vegetables
- Vitamin C is in citrus fruits
- Vitamin E is found in almonds and oils
Antioxidants are good things when found in foods. However, high doses of antioxidants (i.e. antioxidant supplements) can be a bad thing when undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Actually, I don’t recommend high doses of antioxidants for anyone!
These substances can negatively interact with the treatment and cause the treatments to not work as well as they could.
Because of this reason, it is not recommended to consume antioxidant supplements during cancer treatment. You can get all the antioxidants you need through your foods.
Many people going through cancer treatment have a hard time eating. Be sure to check out my treatment tips page here to see tips for when eating is difficult.
Eat your colors!
Read more on this topic:
Is it safe to take antioxidant supplements during chemotherapy and radiation therapy? – From the Oncology Nutrition Practice Group
Antioxidants: Beyond the Hype – From Harvard
Can Antioxidants Prevent Cancer? – From Dana Farber Cancer Institute
My husband went through Chemo. In our experience anything you can get them to eat is good. Our experience the weight fell off my husband and he went down to a weight he had not been since he was in middle school. I was excited to get him to eat anything. Chemo is not a party it is mostly a early death sentence.
Julie Lanford MPH, RD, CSO, LDN says
YES!! This is absolutely right. Especially during treatment eating something is better than eating nothing. No matter what that something is!!