Harvard Heart Letter

Use food to hold off vascular damage

Antioxidants from food—not from pills—can protect arteries and other tissues from damage caused by highly reactive compounds created when oxygen combines with other molecules. Colorful fruits and vegetables are great sources of antioxidants. Foods contain thousands of different phytonutrients, each with its own benefits. Some are more powerful antioxidants than others. They almost certainly need to work together, which is why you can't get the same benefit from a pill. Dietitians recommend eating a variety of fruits and vegetables to maximize your intake of potentially beneficial phytonutrients. How many servings a day do you need? As many as you can handle—and probably more than you are eating now.
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