Antioxidants, Free Radicals, and Treating Yourself
We have come to know antioxidants as the fountain of youth yet, not many of us know much about them or why they are good for our bodies. Antioxidants help protect us from free radical damage but what does that mean exactly?
What are these crazy radicals doing in our body?!
In terms of chemistry, free radicals are atoms or molecules that have one or more unpaired electrons. What they are doing in our bodies is actually beneficial. They are helping out our very busy immune system by killing organisms and foreign material. Now, when things get out of control and there are too many of them (which happens often) they can do bad things like: Cancer, aging, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, cataracts, macular degeneration, kidney disease, Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's to name a few.
This is where antioxidants come in. They save the day by donating one of their electrons to these free radicals making them stable putting an end to the damage they are causing. So where do we find antioxidants? Good news, EVERYWHERE not just expensive and exotic berries.
Beta-Carotene (converted in the body to vitamin A)
Oils, nuts, seeds, avocados, whole grains
Citrus, fruits, veggies, human milk
Carrots, dark orange & dark yellow fruits and veggies, dark green veggies
Liver, kidney, pork, seafood
It's important to mention that it is more beneficial to get these vitamins and minerals from real food than mega dose supplements. More is not better when it comes to supplements. Overdose IS a possibility and even those vitamins that you can't overdose on like vitamin C, we end up getting rid of the excess through urine.
The moral of my ramble here is, save your money and treat your taste buds by eating food not supplements.