Wednesday, November 28, 2012
What is an Antioxidant?
Over the past few years the word antioxidant(s) has been thrown around more and more by physicians, health care professionals and nutritionists alike. The word itself, actually sounds like more of a chemist term, than one that a normal person like you or I should be using in our daily language. Just off hand to someone new to the word, it can sound a little complex! Which leads us to many questions like: What is an antioxidant? How does it relate to health? And how is it good for us?
Just by looking up the word antioxidant, depending on where you check, it CAN be complex! But let's try to figure it out on our own first. The first part of the word, anti-, means against or opposed to. The second part of the word, oxidant-, means an oxidizing agent. So by joining the two parts together we come up with against or opposed to an oxidizing agent. Ahummm. Sooo, yea, what IS an antioxidant? Please break it down in plain English.
Let's look at the body for exactly what it is, a well organized, precess, machine. It is however, not invincible, it wears down, and cells get damaged through free radicals (particles that freely move within the body that cause damage to other cells). Simply put this process is considered the oxidation of your cells. Although oxidation is a normal process within the body, there are external sources that we encounter everyday that speed that process up, such as cigarette smoke. Excessive oxidation can speed up the aging process and even cause diseases like cancer and Alzheimer's Disease. (1)
Now were starting to see what the role of antioxidants can have on our health and why it is good for us. If antioxidants prevent oxidation, it can prevent cell damage and improve or prolong a healthy life span.
Okay, the light bulb is on and now we want to know where we can find these "antioxidants". And I have good news, just like how oxidation is a normal process in nature, antioxidants occur naturally in nature. We can find antioxidants in the foods we eat, in particularly, fruits and vegetables! All we have to do is eat a variety of foods that contain them.
In this post I have simply answered the question of what is an antioxidant but now we want to know more! In further posts to come I will continue to answer that question and more importantly provide you with information on the sources of antioxidants. Please continue to check in and follow me for more!
Please leave me a comment! And any topic ideas you are interested in hearing about!