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Antioxidants are nutrients that protect cells from damage caused by free radicals.   Free radicals can contribute to eye disease, including age-related macular degeneration (AMD).  Antioxidants appear to help to neutralize free radicals. Two major research studies conducted by the NEI found that supplementing your diet with high levels of vitamins C, E, lutein, and zeaxanthin, which are all antioxidants, plus the minerals zinc and copper may help slow the progress of moderate to advanced age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and potentially delay vision loss. Note: The FDA has not evaluated this data or claims about antioxidant effects on vision and slowing disease progression. 

You should always consult your doctor before adding any vitamin or mineral supplements to your diet.

Sources of Antioxidants

Common antioxidants include vitamin C, vitamin A, selenium, and zinc. They are generally found in foods with strong colors, particularly orange, yellow, red, blue, and purple fruits and vegetables:

  • Vitamin C: oranges, grapefruit, cantaloupe, berries, mangoes, kale, Brussels sprouts, peppers, sweet potatoes, and tomatoes
  • Vitamin E: broccoli, pumpkin, spinach, avocado, turnip greens, papaya, and sunflower seeds
  • Vitamin A: carrots, cantaloupe, corn, nectarines, peaches, pumpkin, squash, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and watermelon
  • Selenium: Brazil nuts, tuna, beef, and poultry
  • Zinc: oysters, nuts, seafood, red meat, beans, and dairy

Other foods high in antioxidants include prunes, plums, apples, raisins, eggplant, onions, and alfalfa sprouts.