All of us are aware that antioxidants are good for you – your mother or wife probably even forces you to consume antioxidants, or they probably consume it themselves too. But have you ever wondered what is an antioxidant and why do we consume it for good health?
Let’s start by breaking down the word anti and oxidant – anti means opposite, and oxidant would imply a substance that is oxidised, or contains oxygen at a molecular level. Hence, an antioxidant would be a substance that prevents oxidation of the body. But why is oxidation bad? We all know that we breathe oxygen, and without it, we will most certainly perish. However, high amounts of oxygen in the body cause oxidation and breaking down of cells, which is harmful for health, and is linked with various problems such as cancers, ageing problems, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, Alzheimer’s Disease etc.
These oxidants, that break down cells in our body, are called “Free Radicals”. They are essentially created when oxygen is broken down into single pairs of electrons, which then go on to bind with our cells and damage them. Free radicals are produced naturally in the body, but modern life has resulted in an excess of free radicals in our body. Hence, we use antioxidants to remove these free radicals from our body. Antioxidants hence, help in breaking down these free radicals in our body, and in turn reduce our risk of cancer, cardiovascular diseases and ageing problems.
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