You might have heard that certain foods or beverages are high in antioxidants, and that antioxidants are good for your health, but do you know why? In today’s post, we offer a brief explanation.
First, you have to understand something about the human body. Our bodies are made up of cells, which are themselves made up of molecules. If you were to look inside these molecules, you would see atoms, which are composed of two positive protons and two neutral electrons.
For reasons as diverse as stress and poor eating to pollution or tobacco use, an atom may lose one of its electrons, destabilizing it. To make up for losing one of its electrons, this unstable “free radical” will steal an electron from a nearby atom, leading to a chain reaction of electron-stealing. This is what’s known as oxidation.
If oxidation isn’t treated somehow, it can contribute to a range of health problems that includes:
- Heart attack
But treating oxidation is simple. An antioxidant is a molecule with a spare electron. They combat oxidation by donating their spare electron to free radicals, neutralizing them and preserving surrounding atoms that were at risk.
Where will you find antioxidants? In coffee and green tea, fruits and vegetables, legumes and seeds, and more. In short—nutritious foods in general are an excellent source of antioxidants.
How many servings do you need each day? As little as five and as many as nine.
Want to learn more about fighting oxidation with antioxidants? Talk to your local dentist today for more information and for tips on what to eat to improve your overall health and wellbeing.