Even the most diligent health enthusiasts are subject to an underlying danger that can deteriorate the body and mind. Everyday body function, and especially the processes of active bodies, create free radicals, which are the byproduct of oxygen metabolism. Basically, from breathing and using that oxygen. Free radicals are unstable atoms with an incomplete number of electrons in the outer orbiting electron shell. Why is this a problem? As you might (or might not) remember from high school chemistry, when an atom is unstable, it will automatically try to stabilize by stealing or sharing electrons with other atoms. When this process happens in your body, these unstable atoms (free radicals) take electrons from atoms in healthy cells, meaning that they are creating instability. These free radicals are unavoidable because they are a byproduct of simply living. Everything from breaking down food for energy to skin exposure to sunlight causes our bodies to produce free radicals. Sounds scary, right? Well there is a way to manage free radicals. It's called an antioxidant.
You've probably heard the term before, but the technical definition tends to get blurred in a swirl of health supplement information.
Antioxidants are nutrients that bind to the free radicals, giving them the electrons they need to prevent them from stealing them from our healthy cells. Antioxidants can help prevent many diseases caused by the eroding of cells like Alzheimer's, cancer, skin damage, and general effects of aging. Check out some great sources of antioxidants below!
Blueberries are famous for their antioxidant content. In fact, some studies suggest they having the highest antioxidant content of any fruit or veggie! They are rich in the antioxidant anthocyanin, which has been linked to declines in heart disease.
Spinach is often lauded for its high iron content, but it also is packed with antioxidants! kaempferol, quercetin, zeaxanthin are all present in spinach. Each one is linked to specific health affects, ranging from improved eye health to decreases in inflammation.
Green, black, oolong, and white tea all contain about 30% of dry weight of a good antioxidant called catechins. They also all contain another antioxidant called polyphenol, and are said to have 10 times as much polyphenol as fruits and vegetables! Lagom teas are all organic & high in antioxidants. Find them here.
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