Antioxidants sounds like a buzzword you might hear in a "Star Wars" movie. If you still aren't quite sure just want antioxidants do, imagine that antioxidants are a beam of electrons coming from the Star Ship Enterprise. The electrons attach to the enemy (Cyborgs), causing them to totally change from an aggressive and dangerous enemy that can harm you to a friendly, helpful good guy! It seems that the Cyborgs lost an electron while traveling through space!
That’s exactly how antioxidants work in our body. So, if an antioxidant gives back an electron, what is an oxidant? When we eat, the digestive process begins when we start chewing our food; it mixes with air, saliva and digestive juices. As a natural part of the metabolic process, some molecules lose an electron and become very unstable. When you are exposed to pesticides, household cleaners, smoke from a grill or cigarettes or smog, your whole body - including your skin and the lining of your lungs - is under attack from free radicals. Too much sugar in your blood causes damage to your blood vessel lining from free radicals. Free radical attacks happen in our brain, as well, causing dementia and other neurological illnesses. Free radicals damage cells and create systemic inflammation, causing premature aging and disease.
In an effort to become normal or stable, the free radicals attack our cells to rob an electron from them. The free radicals are driven to become stable again. These attacks can damage the cell and the DNA inside the cell. All cells replicate and when a damaged cell replicates, you have the seed of disease and illness. Once DNA damage happens, the cell will replicate in a mutated state and mutated cells can eventually become cancers. Antioxidants prevent this damage from happening.
Our body makes antioxidants and we also get them from our diet. Some vitamins and minerals act especially powerfully when they work together. Vitamin C and vitamin E work together as antioxidants, with vitamin C giving off multiple electrons to vitamin E in order to stabilize free radicals.
Antioxidants also exist in non-vitamin or non-mineral form. They make up the bright and rich colors in our foods. There are two main families of antioxidants: carotenoids and flavonoids. Over 4,000 flavonoids have been identified. They exist in chocolate, green tea, red wine, grapes, and many other fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans and whole grains. Over 600 carotenoids have been identified. They are the yellow, orange and red pigment in our foods. The orange in the flesh of salmon is beta-carotene it gets from its natural diet. The red in a tomato is lycopene. Some other common antioxidants you have probably heard of include quercetin, resveratrol, lutein lycopene and astaxanthin.
Our body also makes very powerful immune system antioxidants. These exist in our cellular structures and cell membranes and are the cells' first line of defense. The most important enzyme antioxidants the body makes are superoxide dismutase (SOD), methionine reductase, catalase, glutathione peroxidase and CO-Q10 (ubiquinone). We can get some of these from both animal and plant foods, but the amount we absorb is not well known.
There is a test that can tell us how much antioxidant power a given food contains called the ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) Test. Surprisingly, spices are the most powerful antioxidant foods. Please check out this link for the top 100 antioxidant-rich foods.
If you eat a diet rich in color and variety, you will have a diet rich in antioxidant protection. One of the reasons American are so sick is because the American diet of refined and processed foods is a very poor source of antioxidants.
Fill your NutriBullet with lots of colors everyday to prevent premature aging and illness. Just think, with every Blast you have an arsenal of free radical-neutralizing antioxidant protection.