Antioxidants, our unsung hero. You know they’re good for you, but do you actually know why? Well, now you will!
Our bodies need oxygen to survive. When oxygen is used to carry-out bodily functions (oxidation), it creates unwanted byproducts. Say hello to free radicals! Free radicals are totally normal, and we all have them. But they’re unstable molecules, and they need to find themselves an extra electron somewhere in the body. So they’ll explore and pull it from wherever they’d like. This can cause damage to cells, and ultimately lead to illness.
How do we rid our bodies of free radicals? Antioxidants! These little heroes donate extra electrons to not only repair free radicals, but prevent the formation of them all-together. Because we need oxygen to survive, we cannot avoid oxidation. The only solution is to ensure you are consuming antioxidants.
If this example isn’t enough, let’s look at a sliced apple or avocado. If a slice is exposed to air for too long, it will begin to turn brown. Why? Oxygen, my friends. But if you squeeze some lemon juice over it, it won’t turn brown as quickly. And can you guess why? Because Vitamin C is an antioxidant! (Which is also why you take Vitamin C to fight a cold)
This is one of those times when it’s important to look at nutrition beyond macros. It’s also why micronutrients are important in your diet! Now go save your cells, one tiny free radical at a time.