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The Vitamin Game: Antioxidants

CBS News This Morning medical correspondent Dr. Emily Senay gave us this report on antioxidants.

Forget pills. Your local supermarket's produce section is the best pharmacy for some of the most important vitamins your body needs.

Chief among these are the vitamin team that fights heart disease and cancer. These are vitamins C, E, and beta carotene, known as the antioxidants.

Dr. Emily Senay, This Morning's health correspondent, talked to Elise Sosin, a nutritionist at New York City's Mt. Sinai Medical Center, about antioxidants and how they work.

Dr. Emily Senay: Let's start with grapefruit.

Elise Sosin: Grapefruit is a double hit, actually. With a red grapefruit, not only do you get vitamin C, you also get your beta carotene.

Senay: Tell me about carrots.

Sosin: Carrots are great for beta carotene. There's no better choice. And they have all different varieties. You can get little baby carrots and munch all day. You can get big carrots. And basically, one big carrot will do it for your needs for the whole day.

Senay: And carrots are beta carotene. What happens to carotene in the body?

Sosin: Well, beta carotene is converted. It's vitamin A. Most people think of it as vitamin A.

Senay: How about vitamin E?

Sosin: Vitamin E is in nuts. They give you a good source. [vitamin E] is sometimes hard to get. You can also get it from sunflower oils, wheat germ, and wheat germ oil. Also, salad dressing has it. So you can get the vitamin E you need from a diet.

Senay: We hear a lot about vitamin E supplements. Why would you want to take one?

Sosin: There's a lot of information about preventative reasons for taking a supplement and using it as an antioxidant. People are buying vitamin E in the store, because you really can't get that level in food.

Senay: But you can get that level from beta carotene in food?

Sosin: Yes, absolutely.

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