Antioxidants are substances that slow oxidation by neutralizing free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can oxidize, or damage, other molecules. Oxidation causes the cells in your arteries to more easily absorb the “bad” low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol in your blood. The more LDL cholesterol absorbed, the greater your risk of plaque formation and narrowed arteries. By slowing the oxidation process and reducing the amount of LDL absorbed, antioxidants, in theory, may reduce your risk of heart disease. Vitamin C, vitamin E, beta carotene and coenzyme Q-10 are antioxidants.
(Source: The Mayo Clinic, online at www.mayoclinic.com.)