Antioxidants: They’re Your Superhero in the Fight against Free Radicals!

The Bad News:  There are these things called free radicals wreaking havoc on the cells inside your body.  They’re missing an electron, so they’re moving around inside of you trying to steal an electron from other important molecules.  Such thieves!  Pretty much everything around you contributes to the creation of free radicals in your body.  For example, things in your environment like pesticides, cigarette smoke, radiation, and UV rays.  Parts of your diet can also contribute to these terrible electron stealers, such as sugar, oxidized fats, prescription drugs, and…stress.  The causes are hard to avoid!  And once the free radicals start stealing electrons from other vital molecules, they cause a domino effect.  They will eventually cause major damage to your body (called oxidative stress), including inflammation, damage to your DNA, lack of energy, various diseases, and visible signs of aging, among others.

The Good News:  You’re not defenseless!  There’s an easy peasy way to protect your body against these free radicals!  Or it will at least give them something to grab onto instead of stealing from your most important molecules.  These superheroes are called antioxidants and they’re super simple to include in your daily diet.  Antioxidants are the overarching word for many of the vitamins, minerals, and enzymes that can be found in the food you eat.  And the role they play?  They are essentially there to donate one of their electrons to those nasty free radicals inside your body.

Where can you find them?  The key is variety.  Since there are so many different antioxidants to be had, you need to mix it up when planning your meals!  Vegetables are hugely important sources of antioxidants, in particular the dark green ones like spinach, broccoli, kale, and collard greens.  Fruits like cranberries, blueberries, and blackberries are especially high in antioxidants.  Don’t forget nuts!  Brazil nuts and walnuts offer extremely important benefits.  Sweet potatoes, whole grains, beans, fish, and even tea all will pump a plethora of antioxidants into your body.

At Grassroots, you can have our staff throw together an antioxidant-rich salad for you!  The greens provide a crazy amount of Vitamins A and C (super helpful antioxidants).  Next, choose from a wide array of veggies that will stop those free radicals right in their tracks!