What Are Antioxidants and Why Are They Important

Antioxidants here … Antioxidants there … Antioxidants everywhere!

Have you ever wondered, “What are antioxidants and why am I supposed to be getting on that train?”

I did. I kept hearing that this or that product was loaded in antioxidants. You should be juicing and eating certain fruits and vegetables because they’re loaded in antioxidants.

However, if you’re like me, scientific phrases and explanations just leave me glassy-eyed. When someone tries to explain a scientific theory or fact to me, I’m sure I look something like this:

So, I’m going to try and explain this whole oxidation and antioxidant stuff the way I see it and how I think it works.

Let’s start out with a simple visual of what oxidation does to a nail:

After two days of oxidation, a normal “healthy” nail is transformed into a rusty hot mess of sickness.

So, if you think of yourself as a healthy nail, all shiny and pretty and new, then think of yourself oxidizing. What that means is your body starts to rust like that ugly sick mess of a nail on top.

Another example is fruit. What happens to an apple or a banana after you’ve cut it open and it’s exposed?

This, my friends, is why you do not want your body to oxidize. No one wants to be a rotting, decaying blob of fruit.

While we need oxygen in our bodies to keep us healthy, too much of a good thing can hurt us.

Technically speaking, oxidation is this (from WebMD):

As oxygen interacts with cells of any type – an apple slice or, in your body, the cells lining your lungs or in a cut on your skin — oxidation occurs. This produces some type of change in those cells. They may die, such as with rotting fruit. In the case of cut skin, dead cells are replaced in time by fresh, new cells, resulting in a healed cut.

This birth and death of cells in the body goes on continuously, 24 hours a day. It is a process that is necessary to keep the body healthy. “Oxidation is a very natural process that happens during normal cellular functions,” researcher Jeffrey Blumberg, PhD, professor of nutrition at Tufts University in Boston, tells WebMD.

Yet there is a downside. “While the body metabolizes oxygen very efficiently, 1% or 2% of cells will get damaged in the process and turn into free radicals,” he says.

“Free radicals” is a term often used to describe damaged cells that can be problematic. They are “free” because they are missing a critical molecule, which sends them on a rampage to pair with another molecule. “These molecules will rob any molecule to quench that need,” Blumberg says.

Keeping that in mind, antioxidants are like little soldiers fighting those free radicals (damaged cells that have been linked to serious conditions like heart disease, Parkinson’s, and cancer).

You must keep in mind that all antioxidants are not created equal. If we’re going with the soldier analogy, you need all different types of antioxidants in your army: generals, lieutenants, corporals and privates. They all have different jobs to do.

That’s why eating your fruits and vegetables is so important. Those plants mean life!

As I have grown older (and hopefully wiser), I find myself eating a more plant-based diet. Periodically during the year, I eat vegan and sometimes I even go raw vegan (usually during the summer).

One way I ensure I get a nice dose of antioxidants is to drink 2 oz. of Young Living’s Ningxia Red every morning.

Make sure you keep your body healthy! It is one of the most important things you can do for yourself to ensure you are living an abundant life!

What is your favorite antioxidant rich food?

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