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Antioxidants are those chemicals in foods that give tomatoes their bright red sheen, broccoli that lush green color, and eggplant its deep purple skin. More important, they're the compounds that keep lines from creeping onto your face and cholesterol from clogging your arteries. And they take the prize when it comes to stiff-arming the aging process. These nutritional superheroes neutralize cell-damaging free radicals, which have been linked to everything from wrinkles and age spots to cancer and heart disease. "In addition to staving off the visible signs of getting older, antioxidants can go as far as to actually reverse age-related cell damage," says Bonnie Taub-Dix, R. D., a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. What's more, research also points to a compelling connection between eating foods that are loaded with antioxidants and living a longer, healthier life.
Because different antioxidants tackle different aging concerns, your best bet is to get a variety of them. The easiest way to accomplish that is to eat fruits and vegetables of many colors, as each hue signifies a separate health benefit. For example, the antioxidants in berries help maintain cognitive and motor functioning, those found in pomegranates have been found to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke, and broccoli and brussels sprouts contain compounds that help prevent breast cancer.