Antioxidants are molecules that inhibit the oxidation of other molecules. Oxidation, also known as oxidative stress, is a chemical reaction that “steals” an electron from other cells. Oxidation produces free radicals. Atoms are held together by a 2 electron bond. When an electron is “stolen” , the other one stays “free” and looking to bond wherever it can. Antioxidants trap those free electrons (or free radicals) preventing them to bond to our DNA and causing mutations which can lead to cancer.
Oxidative reactions are a part of life, but they can be very damaging. They may cause cell death, DNA mutations, and/or diseases. So to protect your body from them, the best thing you can do is eat a diet rich in natural antioxidants, and eat a variety of them. This infographic has a very colorful visual way of putting it. We need all this spectrum of antioxidant colors in our diet. “These free-radical fighting antioxidants help you look and feel younger by slowing down the aging process, help prevent cancer, heart disease and other degenerative diseases. Not only that, they speed up recovery from exercise… that means more muscle and less fat on your body in the long run!!”