Maybe you’ve seen the term antioxidant and heard that they’re good for you, but do you actually know what they are, what they do and WHY we need them? I’m going to help clear that up for you! As the Founder of the first and best line of natural fruit-pigmented cosmetics, 100% PURE®, I know a thing or two about antioxidants. My products are purposefully PACKED with them!
So, what does that antioxidant word mean, anyway? Merriam-Webster defines it as:
any of various substances (as beta-carotene, vitamin C, and alpha-tocopherol) that inhibit oxidation or reactions promoted by oxygen and peroxides and that include many held to protect the living body from the deleterious effects of free radicals.
To better understand antioxidants, let’s get clear on what free radicals are:
an especially reactive atom or group of atoms that has one or more unpaired electrons; especially: one that is produced in the body by natural biological processes or introduced from an outside source (as tobacco smoke, toxins, or pollutants) and that can damage cells, proteins, and DNA by altering their chemical structure.
Well, there you have it! But what does that mean? How do free radicals affect us and what role do antioxidants play? Your body is a battlefield. At every single second of every day, your cells are fighting for you. They are continuously bombarded with environmental pollutants, toxins, radiation, stress, germs and so much more than our eyes can see. Take a moment to thank your cells for all they do--they’re miracle workers!
What happens when a free radical is in the body? Some free radicals are naturally created as a direct result of bodily functions, such as when we exercise or turn our food into energy. They are by-products of chemical reactions in our cells. Other free radicals are from external factors such as pollution. Free radicals aren’t necessarily bad in themselves, but they can cause permanent harm when they outnumber your body’s natural defenses.
In your body, most electrons come in pairs. Free radicals are very unstable molecules that contain unpaired electrons. They will stop at nothing to pair up, which means stealing electrons they need from other molecules. This causes oxidative stress and cell damage; once one free radical is created, a chain reaction occurs and many more are created. Oxidative stress is linked to all kinds of problems including and not limited to: DNA damage, cell death, premature aging, neurodegenerative diseases, cardiovascular disease and cancer. Yuck!
Enter antioxidants! Antioxidants prevent and stop cellular damage caused by oxidants. The body needs a healthy balance of antioxidants to oxidants. But because our bodies are subjected to an increasing number of free radicals in today’s society, antioxidants are becoming more and more important. Luckily, antioxidants are plentiful in food. They come in all different forms yet they all neutralize damaging free radicals and prevent disease. How awesome is that?
What’s maybe even better are all the yummy antioxidant-rich foods available to us. Here’s some of many: berries, cacao, green leafy vegetables, nuts, red wine, green tea...the list goes on. It’s important to eat the rainbow when it comes to fruits and veggies so you get a variety of vitamins, antioxidants and flavonoids. Always choose organic: you get the highest nutrition content without the icky pesticides, herbicides, preservatives or GMOs. Also, when you can, eat most produce with the skin on--that’s where there’s the most antioxidants.
Antioxidants are your body’s defenders. Your system does not make some antioxidants so they must be obtained through diet or supplementation. These essentials include Vitamin C, E, CoQ10, Resveratrol and Carotenoids. An organic plant-based diet gives you a full spectrum of vitamin and antioxidant-rich options that help your body fight oxidative stress. Check out this link for a slideshow of particularly high-ORAC foods. You may want to also read this article for more info on the importance of antioxidants.
Now you know what antioxidants are and why they’re so good for your body. Remember from my previous blogs, how our skin absorbs what we put on it? So, think of all the health benefits that antioxidants, like those in our 100% PURE® products, are providing you--from the outside, in! It is important to nourish our bodies from the inside and the outside. Antioxidant skin care has many benefits including anti-inflammatory, skin firming and anti-aging properties, scar treatment and sun damage repair. Feed your body--skin included--with organic vitamins and nutrients from the power of plants!