You may have heard that antioxidants help to prevent free radicals.
But, why is it so important to prevent free radicals?
Let’s consider the following negative results of something called oxidizing. Oxidizing is when oxygen molecules combine with other molecules to produce an oxide. For example
Oxygen combined with iron molecules may result in a car becoming rusty.
Oxygen combined with fats in foods (fat molecules) may turn the food rancid (sour and foul smelling)
Now that you understand the effect that oxygen can have when combined with other molecules, you need to know that Free Radicals are oxygen molecules! However, these oxygen molecules are missing an electron, which makes them unstable or prone to change!
As a result, the free radicals search for another electron to stabilize them. When free radicals take another electron from other molecules in the body, it can cause varying degrees of damage to cells, which may lead to oxidation and aging.
Therefore, it is essential to have enough antioxidants because they function to prevent oxidation of the body’s proteins and fats from free radicals. In other words, we do not want the damaged oxygen molecules (free radicals) in our bodies combining with the healthy protein and fat molecules to change them into something negative. Remember the rusty car and rancid food?
Sources of antioxidants to prevent free radicals
Antioxidants are found in many sources, but they are primarily found in various fruits, vegetables and other botanicals, a substance from a plant.
Although the liver produces an ‘internally made” antioxidant, glutathione, there are so many free radicals present in today’s environment, its beneficial to supply the body with more antioxidant support!
Top sources of antioxidants
Vitamin C: Oranges, Cherries, Elderberries, Amla Berries
Carotenoids: Carrots, Apricots, Marigolds, Pears
Anthocyanins: Blueberries, Acai Berries, Concord Grapes, Cranberries
Catechins: Green Tea Leaves, Cocoa, Cherries, Peaches
Flavonoids: Apples, Black Tea Leaves, Oranges, Pomegranate