ANTIOXIDANTS-101

W hat is a free radical?
Essentially it is a highly reactive, uncharged molecule having an unpaired valence electron (it pains me greatly to say this, given how much I loathed chemistry in nutrition school and swore it was the most needless information that I would never call upon to use!) Keep reading, it gets clearer and will make more sense, I promise.

What causes free radicals?

They are produced in the body upon exposure to stress, toxins such as cigarette smoke, alcohol, pesticides on foods, consumption of rancid fats, radiation from the sun, etc. Free radicals cause oxidative damage in the body.

Some of these things are unavoidable and it is just part of life to have some free radicals in the body. But if allowed to multiply and flourish, free radicals cause oxidative damage to cells; leading to the breakdown of and interference with the normal ways cells function in our bodies.

What is an Antioxidant?

Anything that counteracts or detoxifies the harmful effects of free radicals is an antioxidant. Natural antioxidants include ginger, onion, garlic, berries and dark leafy greens. Vitamins A, C, E and minerals selenium and zinc are all antioxidants so foods rich in these nutrients have antioxidant properties. Stress management is also antioxidant, as the biochemical and hormonal changes that stress causes in the body creates free radicals.

What’s the Effect on the Body?

When the balance between the production of free radicals (bad guys) in the body and the ability of the body to counteract or neutralize those free radicals with antioxidants (good guys) is off, damage occurs. As you can imagine, the vast majority of people in our modern world today are exposed to and consuming far more bad guys than good guys. Remember that an overload of free radicals cause oxidative damage to cells; leading to the breakdown of and interference with the normal ways cells function in our bodies. This means illness, mutation of cells, and disease.

What Can You Do?

Minimize your exposure to free radical causing substances by avoiding chemicals and pesticides, avoiding trans and rancid fats, minimizing exposure to radiation, and practicing stress management. Use natural body care and home products, be safe in the sun, eat organic whenever possible. Consume plenty of antioxidant-rich foods high in vitamin A, C, E and selenium and zinc. Fight off the bad guys by increasing your army of good guys.

This and much more foundational information all packaged up for you in our Resource Guide eBook!

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