Antioxidants are a group of substances that protects the body from free radicals. Endogenous antioxidants (e.g. superoxide dismutase, glutathione, catalase) are produced in the body while exogenous antioxidants (e.g. vitamins A, C, E; carotenoids) come from outside sources (such as food). Antioxidant-rich food includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, coffee, tea, and cocoa.

Health Functions
As mentioned before, the main function of antioxidants is to protect the body from harmful free radicals. Free radicals are unstable atoms due to an unshared electron. Unstable radicals react quickly with oxygen, forming reactive oxygen species (ROS). Free radicals are products of cellular metabolism. In addition, ROS is utilized by the immune system to fight pathogens thus ROS is also a mechanism to prevent diseases. However, adverse conditions stimulate the body to overproduce free radicals/ROS which leads to the development of diseases that are associated with oxidative stress and inflammation (which can harm healthy cells). Antioxidants help maintain good health by neutralizing excess free radicals, thereby protecting the body from oxidative stress.

Disease Risk Reduction
Low intake of antioxidants will lead to increased proliferation of free radicals since there is not enough antioxidants available to neutralize them. Sufficient intake of antioxidants reduces the risk for developing chronic diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Groups at Risk
Individuals with diets poor in antioxidants (e.g. lacking fruits and vegetables, too much processed food) and those with unhealthy lifestyles (e.g. smoking, drinking alcohol excessively) are at risk for developing chronic diseases (due to poor antioxidant intake).

Intake Recommendations
There is no established recommended daily allowance for antioxidants, but current research suggests that adults need to take a minimum of 3,000-5,000 ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) units per day since a lot of oxidative stress triggers are currently present in our daily lives, such as cigarette smoke, pollution, and low food quality, among others.

7D VARIETY Recommendations
Studies have shown that dates are a good source of natural antioxidants. 7D VARIETY recommends you to consume Energy Dates to boost your immunity and also prevent diseases such as cancer and heart diseases. A balanced diet (rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains) can also help you increase your antioxidant intake.