It has long been recognized that the antioxidants present in fresh plant materials may be very different to those we ingest via our foods. This is often due to the use of food processing strategies involving thermal/non-thermal treatments. Current research mostly focuses on determining what is present in vegetative starting materials; how this is altered during processing; how this influences activity in the gut and following uptake into bloodstream; and which in vivo physiological effects this may have on human body. Having a better understanding of these different steps and their importance in a health-and-nutrition-context will place us in a better position to breed for improved crop varieties and to advise the food industry on how to optimize processing strategies to enhance biochemical composition of processed foods. This review provides an overview of what is currently known about the influence which food processing treatments can have on antioxidants and gives some pointers as to their potential relevance.