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If you’ve heard people talk about how the antioxidants in various foods and drinks are good for you, you might have also wondered why. Antioxidants are forever linked with free radicals, which, despite a cool-sounding name, are bad for you. The relationship between freed radicals and antioxidants, and the many sources of antioxidants and how they benefit you are all important parts of a healthy diet.

Free radicals: Electron bandits of the bloodstream

Whenever your body burns energy for fuel, molecules of byproduct are produced in the form of free radicals. As a result, our bodies naturally form more free radicals when we exercise.

Some chemicals, like ozone, industrial pollution and cigarette smoke, can also cause your body to form free radicals. While there is some variety to how they are chemically structured, they all share the trait of attracting or “stealing” electrons from molecules around them. When cells in your body lose electrons, they can be disrupted in numerous ways. Free radicals can

  • Corrupt the DNA in cells, causing problems in cell reproduction and function
  • Make cholesterol more likely to stick to artery walls
  • Inhibit the cell membrane’s ability to absorb and release materials

These molecular changes can cause big problems, such as increase your risk of heart disease, atherosclerosis, various cancers, vision loss and more.

Despite all the problems, free radicals do help destroy bad bacteria in our bodies via the same process by which they destroy healthy cells. The trick is balance.

When there are too many free radicals in the body, damage begins to outweigh benefit.

Antioxidants: Putting things right

While exercise causes the body to produce more free radicals, it also produces more than enough antioxidants to keep them in check. Antioxidants take many forms, including compounds our own bodies produce. And just as free radicals can cause different types of cellular and cardiovascular damage, antioxidants can serve different functions to combat them.

In fact, an antioxidant isn’t really a thing so much as a trait. It’s really something of an umbrella term for anything that can serve as an electron “donor,” providing a new electron in place of one stolen by a free radical. This helps improve Insulin Efficiency and reduce the risk of all the problems caused by free radicals.

You’ve probably heard of many antioxidants, like:

  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Selenium
  • Beta-carotene

And you may hear about flavonoids, polyphenols and more. All of them are antioxidants, though they may all be different chemicals from each other.

Antioxidants are most often found in fruits, vegetables and products coming from them, like coffee, coconut oil and chocolate. Any kind of bean or berry, particularly red beans and blueberries, will be high in antioxidants. You can find them in other non-plant sources as well, like eggs.

The best way to eat plenty of antioxidants is to eat an appropriate diet. Since they are common to many fruits and vegetables and other varieties of food, eating them at every meal when following the Olumia Life Nutrition system is a snap. You can find out even more about antioxidants, their benefits and how they feature in the Olumia Life diet by reading more of the Knowledge section and using the Olumia Life app.

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