All About Antioxidants
October 19, 2011
Whether you’re looking to buy the latest in natural beauty and personal care products, or simply seeking to
maintain a healthy diet, it’s likely you’ve come across the mention of antioxidants. For the green consumer,
antioxidants are everywhere. But what exactly are antioxidants? And in what sources do you find them most?
To understand the benefits of antioxidants, it’s best to start first with understanding the nature of free radicals in
your body. Free radicals are the molecular byproducts of normal bodily processes like respiration and metabolism,
or from environmental exposures to pollution, sunlight, cigarette smoke, etc. Within each of your cells, free
radicals are molecules that become unstable with the loss of an even pairing of electrons. These free radicals
then try to bond with other molecules, which in turn also become destabilized, and the chain reaction may continue.
At their simplest level, antioxidants are nutrients that may help our body neutralize free radicals. By providing free
radicals with a stabilizing electron, antioxidants neutralize them from going after other molecules. The chain
reaction is stopped and cell damage resulting from free radicals is minimized.
Look for them in tannin-rich fruits like red grapes, pomegranates, and cranberries, as well as in wines and certain teas.
Also known as a cartenoid, this antioxidant compound is what gives a tomatoes its color.
You’ll find it primarily in broccoli, squash and dark green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale.
These are found in flax seeds.