Free Radicals and Antioxidants: A simple explanation
I think it’s safe to say that we all are familiar enough with the terms free radicals and antioxidants to know that free radicals are “bad” and antioxidants are “good.” But up until recently, if someone were to ask me why, I don’t think I could have explained it in my own words very well. I needed a simple explanation.
Below, I break it down in plain and simple English, thinking that if we understand the what and the why, we’ll be more likely to take the necessary actions to make ourselves healthier.
Free Radicals are BAD.
- Free Radicals are damaged and problematic cells that are missing a molecule.
- They go off looking to acquire their missing molecule from another cell.
- They injure that other cell, damaging the DNA.
- This damage creates cause for disease.
- Plus, mutated cells grow abnormally and reproduce quickly.
Free Radicals create Damaged cells which lead to Disease.
Our body handles normal free radical production pretty well. But over time, repeated damage from free radical attacks leads to cancer, heart disease, Alzehimer’s, Parkinson’s, arthritis, etc.
We’re surrounded by free radical generators every day: smoking, pollution, drinking, processed foods, toxins, pesticides, stress,
Antioxidants are GOOD.
Antioxidants are molecules stable enough to give an electron to a free radical cell, neutralizing it.
We can get antioxidants in various ways – through our food, the products we use, and through essential oils.
Foods rich in antioxidants include: Goji berries, blueberries (and other berries), pomegranates, dark chocolate, artichokes, kidney beans, kale, wild caught salmon, and red wine.
Herbs rich in antioxidants include: garlic, cayenne pepper, turmeric, Cocoa, cumin and green tea.
Vitamins rich in antioxidants include: Vitamin E, Vitamin C, beta-carotene, Vitamin A, Selenium, and Zinc.
Essential Oils rich in antioxidants – Clove, Cinnamon, Oregano, Basil, Ginger, and Thyme.
Some of the benefits of consuming antioxidant rich foods and vitamins are reduced risk of cancer and other disease, slower aging, healthy skin, and overall detoxification support.
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I am not a scientist, or in any way an expert on this topic. I’m just someone who wants to live the healthiest life possible – and have a clear understanding behind why I make the choices I make.