Some metals are essential, others are found as contaminants in foodstuffs. There is some doubt on the antioxidant nature of foods or beverages containing phytochemicals because of cadmium and lead in foods. Evidence from epidemiological and experimental data has found an association between high fruit and vegetable intake and low cancer risk. However, these foods may also contain high amounts of carcinogenic metals, e.g., cadmium and lead shown to interfere with the repair of DNA damage. In this context, healthy and harmful effects of some nutrients are debated. As the benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables are emphasized, attempts for regular mass administration of single food should be done prudently. (c) 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.