Just like rust on a car, oxidation can cause damage to cells and may contribute to aging.
Antioxidants help prevent oxidation, may help increase immune function and possibly decrease risk of infection and cancer. Antioxidants exist as vitamins, minerals and other compounds in foods.
A few of the better known antioxidants include carotenoids--the substance that gives fruits and vegetables their deep rich colors. Apricots, broccoli, pumpkin, cantaloupes, spinach and sweet potatoes, are some good choices in addition to lycopene in tomatoes. Vitamin C and E are also good antioxidants, as well as, magnesium, copper and zinc.