April 26


How are Antioxidants Connected to Diabetes?

By Gabriela

April 26, 2021

Are antioxidants good for people? What about those who have diabetes?

Probably all people with diabetes ask whether antioxidants are good for them. Can antioxidants contribute to better management of diabetes?

In order to answer these questions, we need to understand antioxidants better.

What Are Antioxidants?

We should know that antioxidants are actually substances that inhibit oxidation. Furthermore, we need to understand oxidation. This is a chemical process that occurs in the transfer of electrons.

This process always occurs together with a reduction. That means that while one substance is oxidized another is reduced. These reductions are known as redox reactions.

The internal combustion engine, rust, and corrosion are examples of redox reactions that we know. These types of reactions in the body are happening all the time making end products which we know as free radicals.

Furthermore, free radicals are reactive substances that can bind to proteins and DNA, damaging them permanently and leading to organ, cell, and tissue damage.

The body contains natural antioxidants, for example, glutathione, Vitamin C, and Vitamin E which generally sop up the free radicals, lowering and removing the caused damage.

Moreover, in many chronic diseases and including diabetes the levels of free radicals overcome the ability of the body to soak them up.

Diabetes and Antioxidants

The high antioxidant level leads to a specific condition in the organs, cells, and tissues which we know as oxidative stress. Oxidative stress appears as chronic damage and inflammation to the organs, nerves, tissues, and blood vessels.

According to studies, oxidative stress links with diabetes and with the complications related to diabetes. The use of antioxidants as a supplement or from food sources is an active area of study in the research of diabetes.

One primary way antioxidants might help prevent damage from oxidative stress is by lowering damage to the endothelium. In fact, the endothelium is actually a layer of the cell that lines blood vessels.

In fact, the antioxidants act at the level of these endothelial cells. It is still not known whether adding antioxidants as supplements or to the diet directly impacts these cells.

Good Food Sources of Antioxidants

In fact, antioxidants are part of many different foods, and they are not only good for people with diabetes. As a matter of fact, antioxidants can lower the risk of aging, heart disease, arthritis, and stroke.

You should know that there are different types of antioxidants. Antioxidants such as flavonoids (in citrus fruits, teas, and red wine), anthocyanins (in vegetables, berries, and purplish fruits), and catechins (in teas and red wine).

And also allium compounds with sulfur (in leeks, garlic, and onions), beta-carotene (in dark, leafy green vegetables and orange, yellow foods), etc.

Antioxidant vitamins are beta-carotenoids, vitamin A, vitamin E, and vitamin C. Minerals like selenium, manganese, and zinc also act as antioxidants.

Ultimate List of Foods Highest in Antioxidants

  • Fruit: tomatoes, grapes, grapefruit, apricots, peaches, and avocados
  • Dark, leafy green vegetables: Swiss chard, kale, collard greens, spinach, and mustard greens
  • Sources of vitamin C: bell peppers (mainly red peppers), mangoes, limes, papayas, lemons, and oranges
  • Berries: blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries
  • Cruciferous vegetables: Brussel sprouts, broccoli, and cauliflower
  • Nuts: Brazil nuts, walnuts, peanuts, almonds, and cashews
  • Spices and herbs: parsley, oregano, cumin, thyme, garlic, onions, and turmeric (curry)
  • Seeds: sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, and sesame seeds

Did you find your favorite food on the list of foods above mentioned?


  • Gabriela

    Co-Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Diabetes Health Page, Fitness trainer and instructor has dedicated her career to educating and informing people for over 10 years. As one of the most passionate diabetes advocates, Gabi has worked tirelessly to ensure that those people receive the education and support they need to properly manage their diabetes and achieve their health, fitness and weight loss goals.

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