These days, it’s all about getting that antioxidant fix. Blueberries are filled with them, different types of beans are packed with them, and now lots of beauty products have them, too. For years I’ve known that antioxidants are good for me, but the other day it suddenly dawned on me: I have no idea what an antioxidant is.
What does it do? Why do I need it? In order to get these question answered, I did a little research – and today I want to share my findings.
What are antioxidants?
An antioxidant, by definition, is a substance that inhibits oxidation. But, why is oxidation bad? Well, think about it this way. What happens to an apple when it’s cut open and left out? Why is food best preserved in air-tight containers? Oxidation is what causes these things to go bad – and the same thing happens to the cells in your body.
As oxygen interacts with the cells in your body (as with cells of any type), the process of oxidation causes those cells to change in some way. While most of those cells are metabolized properly by your body, a tiny percentage of them turns into “free radicals”, which are damaged cells that may speed the aging process and can even cause disease.
How do antioxidants work?
Antioxidants block oxidation by neutralizing free radicals. In the process, the antioxidants themselves become oxidized, so that’s why we should make sure to consistently replenish our bodies with antioxidant-rich food!
How can I get my fill of antioxidants?
It’s unclear whether an excess of antioxidants may actually be harmful to the body, so it’s best to avoid overloading on antioxidant supplements. Instead, just be sure to incorporate antioxidant-rich foods into your diet in the form of fresh and organic fruits, vegetables, and nuts.
Specifically, try incorporating blueberries, cranberries, red beans, pinto beans, and artichokes into your meals, as these are among the most antioxidant-rich foods. For a more detailed list of antioxidant-rich foods, go here!
I hope I was able to shed a bit of light on the basics of antioxidants. If you have any knowledge you’d like to share on the topic, please feel free to comment below! :)
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