Health experts agree that everyone needs antioxidants to achieve optimal health. Scientifically, antioxidants are molecules that have the capacity to inhibit the oxidation process of another molecule.
The body also produces some types of these molecules. However, there are essential antioxidants that your body cannot make, which is why you can turn to supplements and food. It is also important to know antioxidant production of the body declines as you grow older.
Why Antioxidants are Good for You
In order to fully understand the benefits of antioxidants, you should be familiar with the formation of free radicals. Molecules in the body oxidize and this is where free radicals are formed. These so-called free radicals are metabolites that are highly reactive and are produced by the body naturally as a result of energy production and metabolism.
The free radicals don’t have complete electrons. The missing electron will create biological oxidation in which the molecules will attack other molecules to replace the parts that they don’t have. Some call oxidation as biological rusting because there is excessive oxygen in the tissues. Free radicals are bad to your body and overall well-being for the following reasons:
- Electron Stealing: Free radicals take the electrons of the proteins in your body. This leads to DNA and cell damage.
- Lipid Peroxidation: Free radicals accumulate in the cell membranes, which can result to cell lipids being more prone to damage caused by too much oxygen. Lipid peroxidation can cause the cell membranes to be leaky and brittle.
- DNA Disruption: Free radicals can also disrupt your DNA as they duplicate your DNA, which interferes with the maintain ace of the structures.
There are also 60+ different diseases that are associated with free radicals, including Alzheimer’s disease, cataracts, and cancer. This is why you should fight free radicals in the body and you can do that through consuming antioxidants. More benefits of antioxidants include:
- Repair Damaged Molecules: There are antioxidants that can do this through giving hydrogen atoms to the damaged molecules.
- Block Production of Metal Radicals: There are antioxidants with chelating effect, which grabs toxic metals out of the body, including mercury and arsenic.
- Stimulate Production of Endogenous Antioxidants and Gene Expressions: Some antioxidants also increase the natural defenses of the body and its genes.
Antioxidants can provide you with a shield effect. Examples are flavonoids, which can shield the body against free radicals, so that your DNA remains intact. Antioxidants can also prevent cancer cells to spread and develop. You can get antioxidants from organic fruits and vegetables, including berries, carrots, spinach, and kale.