Antioxidants

What are Antioxidants?

Antioxidants occur naturally in our bodies and in food (dietary antioxidants). They act as part of the natural defence and repair systems of the body. The human body is exposed to unstable compounds called free radicals, of which too many can have a damaging effect. Dietary antioxidants stabilized these compounds to help keep the balance right and therefore, maintain a healthy body. Fruit, vegetables, dark chocolate, red wine, tea and coffee all contain antioxidants1.

How Much do I Need?

There are no recommended daily intakes for antioxidants per se, however, there are recommended intakes for essential vitamins, which are a common type of antioxidants.

Recommended Daily Intakes (RDI) for Australia and New Zealand 2


Populations Group RDI Vitamin A (µg/day Vitamin C (mg/day) Vitamin E (mg/day)
Children:
All: 1-3 yrs
4-8 yrs
Boys: 9-13 yrs
14-18 yrs
Girls: 9-13 yrs
14-18 yrs

300
400
600
900
600
700

35
35
40
40
40
40

5
6
9
10
8
8
Adults:
Men: 19 - > 70 yrs
Women 19 - >70 yrs

900
700

45
45

10
7
Pregnancy:
14-18 yrs
19-50 yrs

700
800

55
60

8
7
Lactation:
14-18 yrs
19-50

1100
1100

80
85

12
11


Where do I get Antioxidants From?


Type of Antioxidants Food Sources3,4
Vitamin C Blackcurrants, kiwifruit, cauliflower, broccoli, oranges, strawberries, grapefruit, spinach
Vitamin E Soybean oil, almonds, wheat germ, peanuts, sweet potato
Vitamin A and Carotenoids Liver, milk, cheese, egg yolk, fatty fish, carrots, dark-green leafy vegetables like spinach, yellow and orange coloured fruits like mangoes, apricots and oranges
Selenium Brazil nuts, fish, meats, cereal, grains
Polyphenols Tea, coffee, cocoa, red wine, apples, pears, deep coloured fruits like blueberries, cherries, cranberries and plums


Tips for Boosting Antioxidants in your Diet

The dietary guidelines by the Ministry of Health for adults in New Zealand recommend on average at least 2 serves of fruits and 3 serves of vegetables each day*, which is a great way to boost antioxidant intake. It is also suggested that if you are having dried fruit or juice it should not be more than one serve per day.

*Food and Nutrition Guidelines for Healthy Adults: A background paper. Ministry of Health, (2003)

This fact sheet contains general information. Please consult your healthcare professional for specific advice for your personal situation.

If you would like current information about our products please visit www.nestle.co.nz/brands or call our Consumer Services Department during business hours on 0800 830 840.


References

  • Whitney E et. al., Understanding Nutrition, Australian and New Zealand Edition, Cengage Learning, 2011.
  • The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand Canberra: Australian Government Publishing Services 2005.
  • Mann J and Truswell AS, Essentials of Human Nutrition, Oxford University Press, 3rd Edition, 2007
  • Manach et. al., Polyphenols: food sources and bioavailability, Am J Clin Nutr 2004, 79:727-47.
  • Position Statement: Heart Foundation Antioxidants in food, drinks and supplements for cardiovascular health. Updated August 2010
  • http://www.heartfoundation.org.au/SiteCollectionDocuments/Antioxidants-Position-Statement.pdf