Before we start discussing amounts of antioxidants, we need to define free radicals since they go hand in hand. A basic definition of free radicals is unstable compounds that are looking to react with anything in its presence. Free radicals are needed for normal functioning of our bodies. However, if our bodies produce or are exposed to too many free radicals, then our cells can be damaged. Overexposure of free radicals to our cells can overtime ultimately lead to various diseases. Antioxidants become so important because they can help combat free radicals and help provide protection from the harmful effects of free radicals. What is so key here is there needs to be a balance between free radicals and antioxidants for proper functioning of our bodies. In other words, if you have too many free radicals or too many antioxidants this can ultimately lead to cell damage and overtime lead to disease. So yes, you can take too many antioxidants.
A great natural source of antioxidants is fruits and vegetables.We are to be consuming up to 5 cups a day of fruits and veggies or approximately 9-13 servings. Many Americans do not consume adequate amounts of fruits and veggies so its highly doubtful we are getting too many antioxidants through these foods.
Some antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin E, and vitamin A (beta-carotene) have an established recommended daily intake. It is important to ensure you are receiving the recommended levels of these nutrients. However if people are consuming high levels of these nutrients through supplements then they may be receiving too many antioxidants which can be detrimental to your health.
The best way to ensure you are receiving adequate, safe levels of antioxidants is through the food and beverages in your diet. Your best sources of antioxidants include fruits and vegetables. Research has also indicated that tea, coffee, grains, nuts, spices and many people's favorite, red wine and dark chocolate also contain high levels of antioxidants.
Antioxidants can provide many different functions within the body so it’s important to consume a wide array of these compounds through your diet so that you are maximizing all the benefits they may provide.