Antioxidants function as our body’s shield against diseases like cancer; they are nutrients found in a whole bunch of good foods.
Their main job is to protect our cells from the evil FREE RADICALS.
Free radicals are molecules that negatively affect our immunity; our body naturally produces them when we are exposed to pollution, toxins (like tobacco), radiation, and stress. They are also produced when our body breaks down the food we eat and also when we exercise!!! Crazy right?! But, wait! This does not mean exercising is bad!
The reason they are produced when we exercise is because our body uses extra oxygen when we are getting our sweat on. This increased use of oxygen leads to the production of evil free radical molecules, which are basically unpaired electrons( meaning they are incomplete molecules and do not have an even number of electrons floating around).
An antioxidant’s job is to give up one of it’s electrons, and pass it over to the free radical, evening out it’s number of electrons. However, when an antioxidant gives up an electron, it becomes a free radical itself, which is why it is so important to constantly eat foods rich in antioxidants.
Free radicals have a tendency to steal electrons causing them to multiply fast, damaging cell membranes along the way, so we need to fuel ourselves with nutrient dense foods to prevent them from increasing in number.
I guess it is impossible to completely eliminate free radicals in our body, but we can most definitely reduce the number of them floating around; thus, reducing the risk of disease, illness, early aging, and post workout soreness.
Okay, so this doesn’t mean you can use free radicals as an excuse to skip out on the gym! Even though exercise produces free radicals, exercise has the ability to increase the number of immune cells. It does this by revving up the body’s defense system – so, exercising is actually PROTECTING your body!
Foods that are rich in antioxidants include berries, fruits, vegetables, and legumes. Red beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, blueberries, cranberries, artichokes, apples, plums and prunes are just a few foods which are high in antioxidants.
Vitamin A, C and E are brilliant antioxidants, and when they work as a team they strengthen the body’s immune system, strengthen the skin (which is our body’s protective layer), and decrease the rate of aging.
If you pair berries, fruits or vegetables with every meal you have, then you are going to increase your antioxidant capacity.
This is one of the reasons I try to eat vegetables with every meal. I do not want wrinkles any time soon, and I want to live a healthy, illness-free life.
And I want you to as well! So, please, EAT YO VEGETABLES🙂