An Antioxidant is a nutrient, found in food that neutralises free radicals in the body. All sorts of different types of nutrients are antioxidants of varying potency.
Oxidising is a natural process in the body that produces harmful molecules called free radicals. Oxidising in the biological sense is when the chemical structure of oxygen in the body is changed by the process of normal metabolism, and environmental poisons. The resulting altered molecule is called a free radical and in their altered form they damage other cells. They are thought to contribute to the onset of many degenerative diseases and affect how quickly your body ages in appearance.
Antioxidants are nutrients that are believed to restore the electron balance in these oxygen cells, thus making them non toxic. Poor diet and poor food quality due to growing methods therefore add to the problem in the modern era. The drive for plentiful food has led to growing methods that exhaust the soil, reducing the quantity and quality of nutrients in the food. Many of these nutrients have antioxidant qualities. The increase of chemicals in the environment from factors such as car exhausts and pesticides draining into the water supply has increased this problem. Many people also do not eat enough fresh fruit and vegetables which are the richest source of antioxidants.
There are essentially three ways to deal with this problem. The first is to ensure that your diet includes plenty of ORGANIC fruit and vegetables, preferably the supplier should be certified by The Soil Association. Ensure you eat plenty of coloured vegetables that are rich in a potent antioxidant called Beta Carotene. The second is to take good quality supplements to increase your antioxidant intake, the third way is to eat natural super-foods rich in antioxidants. I would recommend blue green algae supplements such as Klamath Lake, Spirulina or Chorella.
The most potent Antioxidants are Astaxanthin (the most potent of all), Beta Carotene and Vitamin E. But there are many other nutrients that act as Antioxidants.
A varied and balanced organic diet is the best way to ensure you are consuming enough antioxidants but supplements will help if you cannot afford this are too busy to manage such a diet.