antioxidant

Definition / meaning of antioxidant

A substance that protects cells from the damage caused by free radicals (unstable molecules made by the process of oxidation during normal metabolism). Free radicals may play a part in cancer, heart disease, stroke, and other diseases of aging. Antioxidants include beta-carotene, lycopene, vitamins A, C, and E, and other natural and manufactured substances.

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Source(s):

The Web site of the National Cancer Institute (http://www.cancer.gov/)

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