I’m sure you’ve heard the words free radicals and antioxidants thrown around a lot, in fact I know I’ve mentioned antioxidants in previous posts! I think it is important for you to know what they are and their influence on your health and beauty goals.
Free radicals are defined as unstable atoms with an unpaired electron leaving them chemically reactive (think an erupting volcano at your elementary science fair). These reactive species cause damage to our cells all over our body. Free radicals are created naturally through normal body processes as well as from the environment including poor diet (excess processed and refined foods), stress, smoking, alcohol, exercise, inflammation, drugs or exposure to sunlight and pollutants. When a free radical is formed it tries to stabilize itself by stealing another electron from another molecule (like the only single person in the room trying to steal everyone’s’ partner)-which now creates a new free radical and continues into a large chain reaction.
A part of why we age may be due to the accumulation of damage caused by free radicals. This includes aging from the inside out – disease development, decrease function of our body’s organs, as well as development of visible signs of aging including sagging skin, wrinkles, sun spots and loss of radiance. Antioxidants on the other hand are our saviors that scavenge the free radicals, stabilize them and protect us from their harm!
I make sure to have antioxidant rich foods daily as they are super important nutrients to prevent early signs of aging and thrive in a long healthy life! Examples of antioxidants include Vitamin C (sources here), Vitamin E (sources here), Vitamin A (sources here), Selenium (tuna, salmon, brazil nuts, asparagus) and Flavonoids (berries, red grapes, onions, apples, green tea)
I get my fill of antioxidants from eating a large variety of plant foods such as veggies, fruit, whole grains, and tea, instead of supplements (research hasn`t proved their effectiveness). Also, including healthy oils in the diet helps us absorb the antioxidants from food! Keep following along with me as I continue to share tips and recipes to help keep your skin youthful!
Quick take away – Free Radicals Age us and cause disease, Antioxidants help keep us young and healthy!