Nutrition 301: Is Being Oxidated Bad?

AntioxidantsOxygen is a good thing right? So don’t I want to be oxidated? And is this just hype for companies to sell more products?

Yes, you want some oxidation. And yes, it is hype for companies to sell more products, but there’s also truth in it. As always let us begin at the beginning. Oxidation is the process by which a molecule loses its hydrogen (very simple terms, it’s a bit more complex). The oxidation process releases something called free radicals into the system. The free radicals can trigger a chain reaction of oxidation. While oxidation is a normal process necessary for all living creatures, too much of a good thing is a bad thing. You don’t want the free radicals roaming around your system looking to snatch up oxygen your cells are using. Have you ever seen pure silver, such as a ring or cutlery, darken over time or tarnish? That is caused by oxidation. Hence you need antioxidants.

With me? Sure you are. An antioxidant prohibits a free radical from stealing essential oxygen from a cell. Think of it as a bouncer at a night club. When the free radical shows up the bouncer (antioxidant) sends it away. Free radicals can be damaging by degrading the integrity of the cell and interfering with vital processes in your body. It is also believed to speed up the aging process (think of that silver ring).

Antioxidants are necessary, that part isn’t hype. The hype comes in when companies start labeling everything with “full of antioxidants”. Nature provides plenty of antioxidants. You can throw a rock and hit one. Fruits and vegetables with dark and colorful skins are loaded with it. Green tea is also packed with essential antioxidants. And my personal favorite, dark chocolate. If you are eating a well balanced diet there’s no need to take antioxidants in pill form.

Why did nature provide so many options for antioxidants in the form of plants? Because plants need to be protected from the effects of oxidation as well. The antioxidant properties are a side-effect of being created to flourish in the elements. Pair up water with natural antioxidants and you may find yourself looking younger and younger every day. At the very least, you will feel better and have more energy.

Like and share this with your friends. Don’t forget to leave a comment below on some of your favorite antioxidant foods.




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