we all need oxygen to survive however once it enters our body it has the ability to produce oxidants called free radicals which are harmful chemicals for our body.
Oxygen helps our body in various ways some that that we can see or feel and others on an cellular level which we can not. The body uses oxygen as fuel for many of its processes and functions. It acts as energy for the cells in our body to help with all that we require to function.
As oxygen fuels processes such as digestion and metabolism it produces free radicals as by products. These by products can be very harmful as they can cause the destruction of the cell DNA and overall cell structure due to their highly reactive nature. These implications on a cellular level can play a part in inflammation and even contribute to disease development.
Various factors can cause increased free radical production within the body such increased stress levels, excessive alcohol consumption, poor diet, old age, exposure to environmental pollution, strenuous exercise and general illness at a time when the body’s immune system is weak.
Antioxidants are metabolic enzymes produced by the body or nutritional compounds found in whole foods. They can come in forms of vitamins, minerals, polyphenols, carotenoids, phyto-chemicals and other nutrients. Some examples of popular antioxidants are vitamin C and vitamin E, beta-carotene, astaxanthin and selenium.
Specific foods are high in antioxidants such as fruits ( grapes, blueberries, pomegranate seeds, carrots, cherries, tomatoes, acai berries and mango), herbs ,vegetables and whole grains.
There are many dietary supplements available to ease the convenience of adding antioxidants to your diet.
Although it can not be comprehensively stated how antioxidants interact with free radicals to nullify their effects it is thought that the processes involves the donation of electrons by the antioxidants on a molecular level to the free radicals which results in them becoming more stable.
As with all dietary supplements it is recommended that you consult with a medical expert before incorporating any supplement to your diet.