We’ve told you to stock up on antioxidant rich foods so many times we’ve lost count. However, we’ve never really explicitly explain what in the name are antioxidants and what do they do exactly.
First of all, we know that we need antioxidants to fight free radicals, but what are free radicals?
Here’s a Little Science Lesson for You:
All molecules ever want in life is to be stable. When a molecule (a particle) in our body loses an electron and that causes it to be unstable. An unstable molecule is called a free radical.
That, of course, is terrible news for the molecule because it is no longer stable. So, it tries to steal an electron from another molecule (making that molecule unstable as well). This process is called uncontrolled oxidation. It can damage vital molecules in our cells, including DNA and proteins, which are responsible for many body processes, causing even aging.
Now, this is where anti-oxidants come in. They swoop in and save the day by stopping oxidation.
What Exactly are Antioxidants?
Antioxidants are what fights against free radicals and protects molecules from oxidation. Your body produces its own antioxidants to fight the oxidation that happens naturally that can lead to aging and cell damage. However, when we feed our body with harmful foods that are processed, or if we go out in the sun without sunscreen we cause our body to go under a lot more oxidation. The oxidation happening from external factors means our bodies need a little antioxidant push that they can get from food and Vitamins.
What Can Cause Oxidation in Our Body?
- Smoking cigarettes or other tobacco products
- Sun exposure without proper protection
- Diets high in fat, sugar, and processed foods
- Exposure to pesticides or industrial chemicals (that can be found in non-organic produce)
- Lack of sleep
- Certain medications
- Exposure to radiation
Natural External Sources of Antioxidants
Antioxidants :Vitamins (A, C, E), Beta-carotene, Lycopene, Lutein, Selenium, Manganese, and Zeaxanthin.
The thing is that not all antioxidants are born equal. Some are produced naturally from the body and some occur naturally in food.
And you can find antioxidants naturally in:
- Dark Chocolate
- Green Tea
- Bell Peppers
Non-Natural Sources for Antioxidants?
Beta-carotene, Lutein, Lycopene, Selenium, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and Vitamin E all are supplements for antioxidants that you can take if your organic and natural sources of antioxidants aren’t sufficient for your body!
Do taking supplements have any side-effects though?
As useful as it is taking supplements may be, they do unfortunately have some side-effects as well:
- They can block your body from generating organic antioxidants.
- Vitamin C reacts not only with free radicals but also with other body molecules that produce extra free radicals.
- Some kinds of supplements (such as; Vitamin E and Beta-Carotene) may prevent cancer treatments’ work, or even worse increases the risk of getting cancer.
Take your antioxidants in supplement form only if your doctor says its required. Otherwise, getting your dose of antioxidants from natural sources is more than good enough.
Now you know where you can get your antioxidants from and why you need them, send this to your friends who are exposed to any of the factors that cause oxidation to occur in their body.