Antioxidants get a lot of buzz from the health and food worlds, and rightfully so. We all know they’re good for us, but why? Antioxidants are critical to our health because they help prevent damage to our bodies from troublesome molecules called free radicals.
What's a free radical?
All the cells in our bodies are made up of electrically-charged molecules. Molecules comprise electrons (with a negative charge), protons (with a positive charge), and neutrons (with no charge), and in a perfect world, the number of electrons equals the number of protons. This makes for a neutrally-charged molecule that is balanced and healthy.
Molecules can often become unbalanced, usually through the loss of an electron. These powerfully charged molecules are called free radicals, and can cause irreparable damage to the cells that they are a part of. In order for them to find balance and a neutral charge again, free radicals will often “steal” electrons from other nearby molecules, causing new free radicals in their wake and therefore additional damage to the surrounding cells.
This can set off a chemical chain reaction called oxidative stress, which has been known to increase the risk of numerous disease states such as cancer, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s, heart disease, and more.
In come antioxidants
Our bodies naturally fight off free radicals by producing antioxidants, which are “anti-oxidation” as the name suggests. Antioxidants are molecules that typically have an extra electron. They are “electron donors”, sacrificing one of their electrons for the free radicals, so the free radicals therefore don’t have to damage other healthy molecules.
This is a common process, but sometimes there are more free radicals than your body can handle with its natural antioxidants. High levels of free radicals can be caused by things like poor diet, stress, cigarette smoke, air pollution, and UV rays from the sun, among many other factors. This is why it’s so important to supplement with antioxidant-rich foods and/or vitamins and supplements.
How to get your antioxidants
Here are some of our favorite antioxidants we use in our products:
Vitamin C is one of the most powerful antioxidants. We use it in our Immune Boost, strengthening the immune system and limiting the damage done to the body during illness. You can also find it in our Hair, Skin & Nails supplement, preventing skin damage caused by the sun.
Pine Bark Extract and Rutin are two antioxidants in our Joint Pain & Inflammation supplement, preventing damage to the joints.
Grape Seed Extract is part of our Blood Sugar Support formula. It’s an antioxidant that focuses specifically on the heart, decreasing the risk of complications stemming from high blood sugar.
Here are some of the most antioxidant-rich foods:
Berries such as blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries