What are antioxidants, and why do I need them?
Antioxidants are substances that actually neutralize oxidizing agents and reverse the damage they cause. What is oxidation? You can think of it as rust inside your body or biologic rust. An apple turning brown when it is cut and left in the open air is one example. Yet, if you rub the exposed surface with lemon juice right after cutting it, the apple stays fresh longer. The lemon juice contains antioxidants that fight the damage done by oxygen in the air.
Inside the body, antioxidants can protect from oxidants and even reverse some damage produced by free radicals. Free radical damage occurs an estimated 17 million times daily and can damage every protein, enzyme, cell wall, and strand of DNA in the body. It can also damage LDL cholesterol, which can result in that cholesterol being added to an atherosclerotic plaque.
What antioxidants are best?
Although isolated antioxidants such as vitamins C and E are well known, because each one is fairly weak they each contribute only a little to the total antioxidant picture within the body. They can provide various benefits within the body under certain circumstances, so they may be useful under these conditions. For general nutrition and antioxidant power, I recommend the super-juices like açai, goji, mangosteen, tart cherry, and raspberry. Each one is packed with different nutrients and antioxidants that are still being studied, some of which have not yet been named. These powerful nutrients and antioxidants work in concert to give the best oxidation-fighting profile available.