On Monday we learned about oxidative stress and how it can negatively affect our health. Today let’s discover how our body protects us from oxidative stress.
I mentioned on Monday that our body has a natural defense against free radicals and oxidative stress. That natural defense is a system of chemicals called antioxidants. Antioxidants snuff out free radicals before they can do damage to the cell. From our fireplace analogy on Monday, antioxidants are like the links in a wire mesh fireplace screen preventing sparks from burning your rug.
Our body makes a few of its own antioxidants but we have to get majority from outside the body. Our primary antioxidants are vitamins. Particularly, Vitamins C & E. Other antioxidants are also present in foods we eat. Fish, grapes, olive oil, and pomegranate are examples of foods high in antioxidants.
An important thing to remember about our body’s antioxidant defense system is it just that, a system. Although some antioxidants play bigger roles, all work together to make the defense strong. Think of our wire mesh fireplace screen again. If several of the links are missing, a hole may develop that allows sparks to squeeze through, burning the rug.
As with most topics, this is just a brief overview of what antioxidants are and how they work to protect your bodies. The topic of antioxidants will recur frequently on this blog, so let this be our opening salvo.
Have a safe, healthy, and fun weekend!