The Power Of Antioxidants

Hi friends, happy Friday!

How was the week that went by? All good at my end too, thank you.

Today’s post is on antioxidants. Yes, the powerful antioxidants which are supposed to be a magical cure for everything, just like immunity these days. No, no, there is no sarcasm intended here, they both are truly magical and crucial to our survival.

And they are closely related, antioxidants and immunity. In fact, the whole human body is magical…so precise and self-sufficient. Hundreds of chemical reactions and synchronized movements makes it magical and I often find myself overwhelmed with the complexity of it all.

e.g. – Did you know that a human heart beats 1,00,000 times a day and the whole process of one beat and the blood pumping through our heart in itself involves an orchestral rhythm.  It involves 4 heart chambers, electric signaling in its nodes and multiple valves/blood vessels working in sync …and I have not even included lungs here!

Anyways, more on that some other day. Let’s come back to antioxidants for now.

First, let’s get familiar with free radicals and oxidative stress.

Free Radicals

Free radicals are molecules in our body with uneven no. of electrons. This uneven no. of electrons makes them unstable and they look for other molecule to attach themselves to. To create long-chain molecules. This process called oxidation, could be beneficial or it could be harmful.

Beneficial because our immunity depends on it. It fights the infections by attaching and de-activating the incoming infections just as well.

When there are too many free radicals in our body, it causes oxidative stress and high oxidative stress in our body, is not a good news. Like most things, there needs to be a balance.

Excess of free radicals or high oxidative stress in our body is linked to many diseases and even damage to our DNA structure. The other damages include:

  • Diabetes
  • Cardiovascular illnesses including atherosclerosis (hardening of blood vessels)
  • Cancer
  • Inflammation and related conditions
  • High BP
  • Neuro-degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s
  • Aging

We don’t want all this damage, right? We want to keep a balance between the free radicals and the antioxidants in our body. Now the question is how to keep a balance.

Let’s get to know the antioxidants now.

What Are Antioxidants?

Antioxidants are molecules that fight free radicals in our body and keep a balance. Our body knows this and has the whole system in place for us, already.

However, lot of factors manage to shake this balance. These factors could range from:

  • Pollution
  • Smoking, drugs and alcohol
  • Radiations
  • Poor diet choices
  • Stress
  • High blood pressure
  • Infections such as bacterial, fungal or viral
  • Excessive intake of minerals like copper, zinc, iron, magnesium as well as of Vitamins C and E
  • Exercising too much

Now we know that antioxidants are essential for our survival. We also know that our body has a system in place for generating oxidants. In fact, all plants and animals have such a system in place. How can we help this system or strengthen it, in our body?

Through diet. And better lifestyle choices, of course.

Too much of anything, even of good antioxidants is bad. High-dose supplements should be avoided unless your doctor prescribed them for a specific reason.

And that is why having food rich in antioxidants is generally considered safer. It is very rare to consume high-dosages through diet alone and a good diet brings about a whole cluster of other good nutrients, apart from antioxidants.

I feel this post is long enough for today. Now we do understand various terms like oxidation, oxidative stress, free radicals, antioxidants etc. better and how the whole process works.

I shall cover the rest in my next post, next Friday. It would tell us how we can improve our antioxidant intake through diet and by making better lifestyle choices.

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Till next Friday

Love, Health & Peace

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