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February 7, 2016

What are antioxidants and how do they help us?

Plainly put… Antioxidants are molecules that can eliminate oxidation damage in your body. Since most antioxidants come from plants, they are also referred to as phytonutrients or phytochemicals. The word ‘phyto’ is greek for plant. So basically, it’s a fancy way of saying plant-nutrients or plant-chemicals.

There are multiple studies that have been done to confirm the positive effects of antioxidants in our bodies; some are conclusive, and others still in the process of being studied.

When we think ‘oxidation’ several things can come to mind, for example rust on metal. The metal becomes oxidized and rust is created, right? Well, it’s a similar process that happens in our molecules, except that we don’t have actual rust buildup inside.

Who remembers chemistry class in school? Remember the molecules, and the electrons? Remember that elements at the far right side of the Periodic Table are the most stable ones? Why? They are stable because they have all the electrons they need. Well, the oxidation process that happens in our body is when an oxygen molecule has a missing electron and it goes wild; this is known as a free-radical. It then looks for that electron all over. Unfortunately the hunt for that electron can cause some very undesirable things that hurt us.

Though our bodies naturally produce certain antioxidants and though we can consume nutrient-dense foods with high levels of antioxidants, free radical build-up can still be overwhelming. This is due to a number of different things, like the consumption of any processed foods, environmental pollution, smoking or second-hand smoke, alcohol, damaging UV rays, and the list goes on and on. Free radical damage to a cell’s DNA can bring on cancer, heart disease and so many other serious threats to our health. Free radicals inside of your cell can cause your cells to sustain some serious ‘internal damage.’

So how exactly do antioxidants help? They can either provide the free radical with the electron it needs, or they can take away that unpaired electron from the free radical; either way it goes, the free radical is then neutralized and it stops being destructive.

And… that’s what an antioxidant truly is, and how it helps us! Seriously… look it up!


From → The Wife's Side

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