Extensive evidence has demonstrated that many antioxidants such as vitamin C, vitamin E, carotenoids and polyphenols have protective effects in preventing cardiovascular disease (CVD), a chronic disease that is mediated by oxidative stress and inflammation. This review focuses on evidence from prospective cohort studies and clinical trials in regard to the associations between plasma/dietary antioxidants and cardiovascular events. Long-term, large-scale, population-based cohort studies have found that higher levels of serum albumin, bilirubin, glutathione, vitamin E, vitamin C, and carotenoids were associated with a lower risk of CVD. Evidence from the cohort studies in regard to dietary antioxidants also supported the protective effects of dietary vitamin E, vitamin C, carotenoids, and polyphenols on CVD risk. However, results from large randomized controlled trials did not support long-term use of single antioxidant supplements for CVD prevention due to their null or even adverse effects on major cardiovascular events or cancer. Diet quality indexes that consider overall diet quality rather than single nutrients have been drawing increasing attention. Cohort studies and intervention studies that focused on diet patterns such as high total antioxidant capacity have documented protective effects on CVD risk. This review provides a perspective for future studies that investigate antioxidant intake and risk of CVD.