Antioxidants – The Basics
What are they?
Generally, the term antioxidant is used to describe a group of compounds that prevent oxidation reactions. Outside of the body, antioxidants are used for a variety of uses including as:
- food additives to help guard against food deterioration
- stabilisers in fuels and lubricants; and
- preservatives in cosmetics such as lipstick and moisturisers.
But most importantly - in the body, antioxidants are vital for good health and wellbeing as they help to prevent cell damage and disease in the body.
This article describes why antioxidants are so important in the body and how you can make sure you get enough antioxidants each day.
Why do we need them?
In a nutshell, antioxidants undo the damage that the all-important oxygen molecule does to our cells.
We all need oxygen to live. Oxygen passes through our lungs to our blood where it is transported to our cells. Inside our cells, oxygen reacts with glucose to liberate energy. During these oxidation reactions, reactive species called free radicals are produced. These free radicals start chain reactions that damage living cells and can cause disease. This is where antioxidants come in. Antioxidants stop these dangerous chain reactions by removing the free radical culprits. They are somewhat heroic molecules, allowing themselves to be oxidised instead of important metabolites.
How can we get them?
Some antioxidants are not made in the body and must be obtained from the food we eat. Antioxidants are found in varying amounts in foods such as
- vegetable oils;
- red wine;
- grain cereals; and
Processed foods contain less antioxidants than fresh and uncooked foods. Some of the most important antioxidants are vitamins (A, C and E) and carotenoids.
Xtreme Herbs offers a range of herbs that are packed with antioxidants including:
Stay healthy, and make sure you are getting your fair share of antioxidants - so you too can Live Life to the Xtreme!