Austin Center RADIATION Oncology


What are antioxidants?

Antioxidants are man-made or natural substances that inhibit the oxidation of other molecules. Oxidation is a chemical reaction that produces free radicals, which in turn may damage or destroy cells. Free radicals are highly unstable molecules that are naturally formed when you exercise and when your body converts food into energy. Your body can also be exposed to free radicals from a variety of environmental sources, such as cigarette smoke, air pollution and sunlight.

Do I have to change my diet?

Radiation therapy does not require you to change your diet. However, adapting a healthier lifestyle and diet can be incredibly beneficial to you. While no single food can prevent cancer, the American Institute for Cancer Research recommends a diet filled with fresh fruit and vegetables, lean protein, whole grains and legumes.

Antioxidants and radiation

Radiation therapy is based on an oxidative process and consuming antioxidants could work against the therapy. You should stop all mega doses of antioxidants, including multivitamins while on radiation therapy. You will be able to resume taking your antioxidants after you finish radiation.

Antioxidant supplements may also interact with some medicines. Make sure you talk to your doctor before starting any new medications or supplements.

The three major antioxidant vitamins are beta-carotene, vitamin C and vitamin E. You’ll find them in colorful fruits and vegetables, especially those with purple, blue, red, orange, and yellow hues. Here are some examples:

  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Peaches
  • Peppers
  • Strawberries
  • Tomatoes
  • Avocado
  • Spinach
  • Nuts
  • Berries

Contact the Austin Center for Radiation Oncology to schedule a consultation.