Reactive oxygen species (ROS) generated in the presence of O(2) by mitochondria, phagocytic cells, peroxisomes, and cytochrome P450 enzymes under physiological conditions, may play a dual function in the human organism. On the one hand, they participate in cell signal transduction cascades, leading to the activation of some transcription factors responsible for regulating of the expression of genes relevant for cell growth and differentiation. On the other hand, they cause oxidative damage of cellular DNA, protein and lipids, resulting in the initiation or development of numerous diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes mellitus, cataract, rheumatoid arthritis, or different neurodegenerative diseases. Both endogenous compounds (glutathione, ubiquinol, urate, bilirubin) and enzymes (superoxide dismutase, catalase, glutathione peroxidase) are engaged in the detoxification of ROS. In addition, numerous dietary components such as vitamin C, vitamin E, carotenoids, and polyphenols are thought to be involved in the antioxidant defense system. The present review article is focused on the summary and the assessment of research on the impact of dietary antioxidants in the prevention of chronic diseases, particularly cancer and cardiovascular diseases.