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Everything You Need to Know About Antioxidants

Last Updated on: May 4, 2022

Reviewed By: Jessica Herzog, MD, FAAP, ABioM

foods on a table that contain antioxidants

Antioxidants are molecules that neutralize harmful free radicals and oxidants. Antioxidants can be found in a variety of foods and help support bodily health. Echo Antioxidant Water™ has been found to be an effective antioxidant that offers a number of health benefits.


Antioxidants are molecules that are able to combat harmful free radicals. (1) Antioxidants help prevent cell damage by donating an electron to free radicals and oxidants, thereby neutralizing them. (2)

Antioxidants are our greatest defense against oxidants. Antioxidants are the water that puts out the oxidant fires. Antioxidants work to fight against free radicals that play a role in the development of a number of diseases, including heart disease and diabetes.

We can get antioxidants from a wide range of food sources. These include: fruits, vegetables, whole foods, green tea, turmeric, blueberries, beta carotene, and vitamin E.


In order to better understand antioxidants, you need to gain a better understanding of free radicals. Free radicals are constantly being formed in your body. Of all the oxygen you breathe in, 2% turns into “bad oxygen,” scientifically known as free radicals. (3) These free radicals can be converted into good oxygen when antioxidants come into contact with them and give them an electric charge. Without antioxidants, the free radicals scavenge our cells for electrons, damaging and destroying them in a process known as oxidation. The more we age, the more antioxidants we need as our body’s generation of antioxidant enzymes begins to decline.

Simply put, a free radical is a molecule with an unpaired electron. Free radicals scavenge cells looking for an electron to pair with. Because antioxidants have an extra electron, they are able to donate an electron to the free radical, neutralizing it.

diagram of free radicals
Antioxidants and free radicals.

Free radicals can cause harm when their levels become too high in your body. Free radicals are linked to multiple illnesses. These illnesses include heart disease, diabetes type 2, and cancer. (1)


Free radicals are constantly being created through normal respiratory processes. However, some environmental and habitual causes behind the formation of free radicals include (1):

  • Stress
  • Air Pollution
  • Alcohol
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Poor diet
  • High blood sugar levels

Free radicals then are generated in the body by exposure to physicochemical conditions, pathological states, and by endogenous systems.


Yes! Free radicals may have a number of beneficial bodily uses. One important use includes wound healing. (4) For example, when you get a cut, the area around the cut turns red. This short-term inflammation is caused by free radicals. Once the wound scabs and heals, the free radicals no longer rush to the site to try to heal it.

Another study found that free radicals play an essential role in heart physiology. (5) During stressful situations, free radicals help the heart to pump more blood. This increase in blood pressure is essential for fight-or-flight situations. On a daily level, this bodily response can help you perform better during your running race, soccer game, or swimming competition. However, this is only intended to be a short-term response. When you experience long-term stress, it can put harmful pressure on your heart, which may lead to heart failure.

man getting ready to run on a track
Environmental factors can cause free radicals.


When the antioxidants in your body are outnumbered by free radicals, oxidative stress is the result. Long-term oxidative stress may lead to cell damage, damage to DNA, and even cell death (apoptosis). Some effects of oxidative stress damage may include (6)(7):

  1. Faster aging
  2. Heart disease
  3. Heart conditions such as high blood pressure
  4. Diabetes
  5. Chronic inflammation and inflammatory diseases
  6. Increased risk of cancer
  7. Neurodegenerative diseases
  8. Asthma
  9. Male infertility


There are many contributors to the formation of oxidative stress in the body, including (8):

  1. Pollution
  2. Radiation
  3. Pesticides
  4. Poor diet
  5. Lack of exercise
  6. Emotional stress
  7. A prolonged state of anxiousness or nervousness


Yes! Oxidative stress can indeed be a good thing. When we exercise, we experience beneficial short-term oxidative stress that has a regulatory effect on the body. Additionally, oxidative stress is part of our body’s natural immune response. Oxidative stress triggers inflammation around an injury. Once the immune system has either repaired the injury or fought off an infection, the inflammation subsides. (8) However, this is meant to be a short-term bodily response. When you experience long-term oxidative stress, you may experience faster aging, inflammatory diseases, and other negative effects.

food with good antioxidants on a table
The causes behind oxidative stress.


Oxidants are molecules that steal an electron from another molecule. Oxidants are reactive molecules; this means that they are unstable molecules that easily react with other cell molecules. (9)(10) Oxidants can be produced inside our bodies as a product of our anaerobic metabolism. They can also be produced as a result of environmental factors such as radiation, stress, or having too much or too little oxygen in the body. Because having a disproportionate amount of oxidants to antioxidants in the body can lead to a series of negative health effects, it is important to make sure your body is getting enough antioxidants.


Fruits, vegetables, vitamin E and C, and whole foods are well-known sources of antioxidants, but what other foods are rich in antioxidants? (1)

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) tested over 100 foods and developed a list of the best foods that contain antioxidants. (11) The American Dietetic Association has also created their own list of foods that contain antioxidants. (12) Here are a few of those foods:

  1. Granny Smith apples
  2. Russet potatoes
  3. Berries
  4. Green tea
  5. Dark chocolate
  6. Fish and other seafood
  7. Artichokes
  8. Pinto beans
  9. Oatmeal
  10. Watermelon
  11. Eggs
  12. Grapefruit
  13. Broccoli, greens, and spinach
  14. Peaches and apricots
  15. Beetroot
  16. Bell peppers
  17. Pumpkin
a healthy breakfast on a table
Foods rich in antioxidants.


The reason why certain foods are labeled as being a better way to get antioxidants than other foods depends on the antioxidant nutrients they contain.

  1. Beta Carotene: This nutrient gives certain foods their red, orange, and yellow pigment. It is easily converted into vitamin A by the body and carries powerful antioxidant properties. (13) E.g., carrots, pumpkin, acorn squash, apricots, peaches, mango, and sweet potatoes.
  2. Catechins: These nutrients contain a ring-like structure and are one of the most potent antioxidant compounds. (14) E.g., apples, cacao, beans, berries, and green tea.
  3. Vitamin E: This vitamin is an essential part of certain fat-soluble compounds that have significant antioxidant properties. (15) E.g., nuts, seeds, and whole grain.
  4. Anthocyanins: This is a type of flavonoid that gives certain foods a red, purple, or blue pigment. These nutrients can have anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties. (16) E.g., eggplant, beetroot, and prunes.
  5. Vitamin C: This popular vitamin is known to help combat the common cold, boost your immune system, and help against prenatal health problems, among other essential health benefits. (17) E.g., citrus fruits and bell peppers.
  6. Selenium: This important mineral helps boost your metabolism, facilitates good thyroid function, helps protect against mental decline, and is a great source of antioxidants. (18) E.g., chicken, brown rice, oatmeal, salmon, and seafood.
  7. Lutein: This vitamin is best known as “the eye vitamin.” Lutein helps prevent eye disease and helps combat vision loss and cataracts. (19) E.g., corn, egg yolks, spinach, kale, orange juice, broccoli, and grapes.
  8. Vitamin A: This essential vitamin helps support cell growth, boosts immune function, facilitates better vision, and improves reproduction processes. (20) E.g., milk, egg white, sweet potato, and liver.
  9. Resveratrol: This plant compound can help lower blood pressure, helps protect brain function, and reduces cholesterol, among other important health benefits. (21) E.g., red wine, blueberries, peanuts, and grapes.
  10. Ellagic acid: This potent antioxidant helps remove toxins from your body, helps your body fight against infection, helps combat obesity, and decreases inflammation among other health benefits. (22) E.g., strawberries, raspberries, guava, pomegranate, pecans, walnuts, and black berries.
  11. Lycopene: This plant nutrient gives plants their red and pink coloring. This nutrient has been shown to help prevent sunburn, facilitates good heart health, strengthens your bones, and may help to protect you against certain types of cancer. (23) E.g., watermelon, tomatoes, and grapefruit.


There exist several different tests that measure the antioxidant content in foods. One of the most popular tests is the Ferric reducing ability of plasma (FRAP) test. This test measures how well a food can neutralize a specific free radical. The more effective the food is, the higher the antioxidant content.

Echo Antioxidant Water pouring into a glass
The benefits of Echo Antioxidant Water™.


Echo Antioxidant Water™ is a great source of antioxidants; it’s even in the name! Echo Antioxidant Water™ is water that has gone through the process of electrolysis, giving it the optimal oxidation-reduction potential (-300mV to -400mV*) to encourage a healthy gut biome and adding hydrogen gas into the water. Echo Antioxidant Water™ makes use of molecular hydrogen because hydrogen acts as a therapeutic antioxidant by inducing antioxidative enzymes and neutralizing cytotoxic oxygen radicals. (24) Antioxidant Water™ may be able to (25):

  • Reduce oxidative stress and inflammation by neutralizing free radicals
  • Improve energy levels by increasing mitochondrial function (ATP)
  • Lower sugar cravings by neutralizing the hydroxyl radical
  • Increase cognitive function
  • Prevent age-related learning and memory impairments
  • Repair gut and immune function and support the growth of good gut bacteria
  • Prevent pathology by acting as a neuroprotective and increasing gut and immune function
  • Normalize blood glucose levels
  • Promote homeostasis in the body
  • Stimulate gastric ghrelin secretions, which benefit sleep, motor skills, and neurological issues like Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, ADD, and ADHD

70% to 80% of your immune system is housed in your gut. (26) The gut acts as a hydrogen generator that is designed to create 10 to 12 liters of hydrogen per day. So why wouldn’t the gut do that? Not eating the right foods, not getting enough exercise, consuming food with pesticides in it, putting our bodies under sleep deprivation, etc., may damage the gut, leading to a deficiency of hydrogen. Antioxidant Water™ puts back the missing hydrogen to restore your gut, promote the growth of good bacteria, and help combat harmful free radicals and oxidants.

Echo Water Machines
How to get more antioxidants.


Depending on your needs, we have a wide range of Echo Water® Machines™:

The Product What It Offers:
Echo Ultimate™
  1. Four different types of water: hydrogen, alkaline, filtered, and acid water.
  2. Language options: The 7-inch color touch screen allows you to choose between 10 different language options to customize the machine just for you.
Echo Go™
  1. An Antioxidant Water™ bottle on the go: take it to the gym, hiking, or even on a plane.
Echo H2 Machine™
  1. This machine creates clean, great-tasting Echo Antioxidant Water™ while keeping pH neutral.
  2. Once the water goes through electrolysis, it has -400 to -500 mV ORP (Oxidation-Reduction Potential). This electrical potential stimulates healthy bacteria growth, repairing the gut and immune functions.
  3. Install the machine either under or on top of the counter.
Echo H2 Server™
  1. This machine is designed for people who already have a home filtration system.
  2. The Echo H2 Server™ produces water with 0.8 to 1.2 ppm of hydrogen.
Echo H2 Pitcher™
  1. The Echo H2 Pitcher™ is a great Echo Antioxidant Water™ solution for those on the go. It fits perfectly in your fridge and, within 20 minutes or less, will provide quality Antioxidant Water™.

For more information on Antioxidant Water™, visit

*These measurements were tested in an ideal environment. Results may vary based upon location and source water.

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