According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, an antioxidant is “a substance that inhibits oxidation or reactions promoted by oxygen, peroxides, or free radicals.”
A free radical is a molecule that contains an unpaired electron and, as a result, is highly reactive and unstable. Free radicals are formed in the body every day and will cause damage unless they are neutralized by antioxidants.
Excess free radical formation may lead to conditions such as cancer, heart disease, and Parkinson’s Disease, to name a few.
Free radicals are created from external and internal sources, such as radiation, smoking, pollution, toxic chemicals, pesticides, inflammation, the body’s metabolic processes and exercise.
In order to prevent free radical damage, it is necessary to consume antioxidants. Antioxidants are found naturally in a variety of foods, teas, and spices.
Vitamins A, C, and E and the minerals selenium and zinc act as antioxidants in the body.
Antioxidants can donate electrons to free radicals. This stabilizes the free radical and prevents damage.
Eating a diet containing a variety of fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices is the best-known way to safely consume antioxidants. Onions, garlic, turmeric, cinnamon, green tea and ginger are well known for their antioxidant content.