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Antioxidants—They Matter!

Cherries With the attention that antioxidants get, very few people know what they actually are and why they’re so important. Including antioxidants in your regular diet is a key aspect of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and keeping your youthful appearance. They’re produced naturally by your body, but those are to balance out the free radicals that are formed during natural processes. What about those you’re exposed to?

Free Radicals—What They Are & What They Do

During oxidation, atoms break apart, resulting in unpaired electrons that become free radicals. Continual exposure to free radicals can cause chain reactions in cellular structure. They can even damage the chain of DNA and cause permanent cellular damage. The process of oxidation via free radicals is being examined as one of the key causes of aging.

Oxygen is the source of oxidation, but free radicals can be created by exposure to other environmental factors like cigarette smoke, industrial fumes and UV rays.

What Do Antioxidants Do?

Loose electrons bounce around as free radicals; antioxidants donate electrons to them to protect the necessary electrons in surrounding cells. This prevents free radicals from disrupting natural metabolic processes.

Your body produces some antioxidants naturally to offset the free radicals created during metabolic processes, but that doesn’t take into account the free radicals you’re exposed to by the environment. That’s why antioxidants are so important.

A diet that includes a mix of colorful fruits and vegetables is a diet rich in antioxidants. Nutrients such as vitamins A, C and E function as antioxidants and provide your body with additional fuel needed for healthy living. Strawberries, blueberries, green leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds, watermelon, beans and more are all sources of antioxidants that help combat free radicals.

Moderation and a healthy diet is the key to utilizing antioxidants properly. The body does require some free radicals to handle bacteria and handle other metabolic processes, but our environment exposes us to too many free radicals. Overdosing on antioxidants can cause just as much trouble for your body, throwing the system out of balance.

A healthy diet with proper self-care and moderation in exposure to things like UV rays and industrial fumes will help your body balance the oxidation process and avoid accelerated aging and other problems.

 

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