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Why Antioxidants Are Important for Your Health

By Alexis Mills

We all know that we should be eating more fresh, healthy food because they are filled with antioxidants. As far as why antioxidants are so important for our health and what they do specifically isn't as widely known. In a brief review, these are disease-fighting compounds that fight off free radicals.

What Are Free Radicals?

Free radicals are produced by chemical reactions in our body when we are exposed to toxins. They are highly unstable and are formed when we are exposed to a variety of things such as sunlight, cigarette smoke, radiation, or pollution. Free radicals are unpaired electrons and will steal electrons from other healthy molecules to cause significant damage to cells in the body. What's worse is that when one is formed, it creates more and more.

Our bodies do have defenses against free radicals and it is normal to have some formation. When our defense outweighs the number of free radicals though this is when it gets dangerous and can lead to lasting harm. This has been linked to several diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer's and cardiovascular disease.

How Antioxidants Help? 

So, there is a reason I scared you with the whole story of free radicals to show you the purpose of antioxidants. The way you help prevent free radicals from taking over your body is by eating foods that are high in antioxidants. They are able to neutralize free radicals and keep them from doing further damage to the body. Antioxidants play a huge part of properly detoxifying the body of harmful molecules.

What You Should Eat?

First all, this proves how important what you are putting into your body changes your quality of life and health. As far as what to eat, there are so many different foods that are high in antioxidants such as fresh berries, leafy vegetables, green tea, dark chocolate, bell peppers, sunflower seeds, grapes, artichokes, pomegranates, cinnamon, and other foods. There are numerous amounts of foods with antioxidants and ones that are particularly high in antioxidants, which are called "superfood" or "functional food." Also, there are thought to be hundreds or thousands of substances that can work as antioxidants. With that being said, it's important to consume a variety of antioxidants because they range in what they can do.

While free radicals have linked to a range of disease, this does not necessarily mean increasing the number of antioxidants you eat will guarantee prevention of these diseases. While that doesn't sound all that encouraging, consuming as many whole foods as possible can still help you increase your overall health and wellness.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Wake Forest, N.C.

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