We hear a lot about antioxidants. As far as popular health-related topics go, “antioxidant foods” is up there with “gluten,” “organic,” and “non-GMO.” If you’ve ever wondered what antioxidants actually are, though, you’re not alone. Here is the basic rundown:
Antioxidants are chemical compounds often found naturally in food, which, once consumed, negate the effects of free radicals in the human body. This is an important process because wherever an excess of free radicals accumulates, it can damage your DNA — which in turn can contribute to cancer growth.
The result of free radical accumulation is called “oxidative stress,” and is associated with a number of other diseases as well, including Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Hence, consuming healthy levels of antioxidant foods is one way of protecting against cancer and other diseases.
“Can’t I just avoid free radicals?” you might ask. Unfortunately, you really can’t.