Nanomaterials with enzyme-like properties has attracted significant interest, although limited information is available on their biological activities in cells. Here we show that V2O5 nanowires (Vn) functionally mimic the antioxidant enzyme glutathione peroxidase by using cellular glutathione. Although bulk V2O5 is known to be toxic to the cells, the property is altered when converted into a nanomaterial form. The Vn nanozymes readily internalize into mammalian cells of multiple origin (kidney, neuronal, prostate, cervical) and exhibit robust enzyme-like activity by scavenging the reactive oxygen species when challenged against intrinsic and extrinsic oxidative stress. The Vn nanozymes fully restore the redox balance without perturbing the cellular antioxidant defense, thus providing an important cytoprotection for biomolecules against harmful oxidative damage. Based on our findings, we envision that biocompatible Vn nanowires can provide future therapeutic potential to prevent ageing, cardiac disorders and several neurological conditions, including Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease.