Oxidation, free radicals and antioxidants explained…

What’s oxidation?

Oxidation is a natural process that your body is always undergoing. Your body is also under constant attack both internally with what we eat and externally with the pollution and chemicals that surrounds us. Let’s just call this ‘bad stuff’ which ADDS to the oxidation process.

The process of oxidization is when your molecules are robbed of one or more electrons. When your body is continuously exposed to ‘bad stuff’ the oxidization process is accelerated.

Since your body is composed of 100 million million cells and each cell has thousands of molecules, it takes awhile before oxidization can make an impact but it always does over time unless you do something about it.

What’s a free radical?

Oxidation  can be  accelerated by stress, smoking, alcohol, foods, pollution and chemicals.  When there are  disruptions in the natural oxidation process, the excess robbing of electrons from molecules creates highly unstable and  potentially damaging molecules called free radicals.

These free radicals are atoms or groups of atoms that contain an odd  number of electrons. Once formed, free radicals start a chain of damaging  chemical reactions.  The biggest danger to the human body is their  potential to react with DNA or the cell  membrane, causing cells to function poorly or die.

Free radicals are present in the foods you eat as well as in the air you breathe.   Some even come through exposure to sunlight that can harm the skin. Free radicals can damage DNA, they can change what enters and leaves a cell.  Prolonged exposure to elements that create free radicals eventually causes disease, accelerates aging, and is even a contributor to heart disease and type 2 diabetes.


What’s an antioxidant?

Antioxidants helps fight oxidation. They also balance free radicals. In very simple terms, they have an abundance of electrons that they will share with a free radical in order to stabilize them. Antioxidants are credited for being able to fight off disease, resist aging, prevent heart disease and type 2 diabetes that free radicals cause.


Antioxidants are primarily found in plant foods. The table below describes some of the highest sources of antioxidants:

  In conclusion…

You can’t stop oxidation, it’s a natural process. But you can slow it down and definitely fight against the accelerators of oxidation that everyone is surrounded with by controlling what you eat.  The best source of antioxidants is a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

To slow oxidation and the stress of  life choose your foods wisely.  Your cells need a variety of antioxidants provided by different foods to fight the damages of oxidation and free radicals.

So add some anti-oxidants to destroy free radicals and become….Fit Forlife

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