Your body is an incredibly fascinating specimen that’s capable of a wide range of things. Some of those things are put on full display for everyone to witness, while other things happen in the background when no one is looking. Either way, your body is hard at work keeping you healthy.
Of all the things your body does behind the scenes, one of the most fascinating includes the use of antioxidants. While the term ‘antioxidants’ doesn’t necessarily refer to a specific nutritional property, it does refer to a chemical property that’s found in a number of nutrients you eat daily.
You might be asking yourself, “What are antioxidants?” and “What do antioxidants do for the body?” Don’t worry, we’re not going to leave you hanging. In fact, we’re going to detail everything you need to know about antioxidants and their role in maintaining a healthy body every day.
So, what are antioxidants?
Antioxidants are any compound or molecule with the chemical properties necessary for fighting off and stabilizing free radicals. Free radicals are no stranger to the body and are actually needed for normal functioning of the body. Too many free radicals, however, can be dangerous.
The immune system utilizes free radicals when fighting off infections, but an excessive amount of free radicals can damage your body’s cells and DNA. This is because free radicals steal electrons when coming in contact with other molecules, which can eventually cause damage.
Antioxidants are important because they lend some of their electrons to neutralize and stabilize free radicals. This creates a healthy balance in the body that allows free radicals to do what they do best, but not so much that they take over the cell — something known as oxidative stress.
What Leads to Excessive Free Radicals?
There are a variety of lifestyle and environmental factors that might lead to an excessive amount of free radicals in the body. The more you expose yourself to these factors, the greater risk you are at promoting oxidative stress in the body — which is something none of us should want.
Here are some of the things that lead to an imbalance of free radicals and antioxidants:
- Alcohol and tobacco consumption
- Air pollution and toxins
- High blood sugar levels
- Infections (bacterial, fungal, viral)
- High consumption of polyunsaturated fatty acids
- Too much or too little oxygen in the body
- Too much iron, copper, zinc, and magnesium in the diet
Avoiding the things listed above can put your body in the right position when limiting oxidative stress and maintaining a healthy body for as long as possible. Of course, you’ll also want to ensure you consume enough antioxidants to help fight off any excess amount of free radicals.
Foods High in Antioxidants
Believe it or not, the body has its own antioxidant defense system that helps ward off free radicals. One of the most prominent antioxidants produced naturally is glutathione, but levels of this antioxidant tend to decrease as we age. That’s where food and nutrition come in handy.
Some of the healthiest foods that contain antioxidants include strawberries, blueberries, pecans, artichokes, beans, cranberries, blackberries, prunes, raspberries, apples, cherries, potatoes, plums, and dark leafy greens. In fact, chocolate — especially dark chocolate — has antioxidants.
If you’re looking for more nutritional advice when maintaining a healthy body, you’ve come to the right place. Contact us at DannyStillman Coaching today to schedule your first consultation with our trusted team!