Antioxidants and Free Radicals – The Good and the Bad

Free Radicals – Damaging our Bodies from Within

Even young people can be victims of unsuccessful aging if they are not providing their bodies with the necessary balance of having enough dietary antioxidants to fight off the free radicals. To understand the value and importance of antioxidants, you must first understand the destructive results of free radicals.

What are free radicals? Scientists have found that the body forms unstable oxygen molecules, called free radicals; every cell produces tens of thousands of them each day.

Free radicals are produced within the body every single day from the different chemical reactions which happen in each individual part of our bodies. Free radicals are produced outside of the body as well, reaching us through sunrays, toxic chemicals in our drinking water, second-hand as well as first-hand smoke, unhealthy foods, bacteria, viruses, radiation, and pollution in general.

The cells of our bodies are now increasingly subject to damage from free radicals due to the high levels of environmental toxins in our diet and the reduced levels of antioxidants in our food to combat free radical damage.

What are Antioxidants?

Antioxidants are nutrients that help to lower the amounts of free radicals in your body by providing them with the oxygen molecule that they are missing and making them stable. Quite simply put, at the molecular and cellular levels, antioxidants serve to deactivate these free radicals.

In order to bolster the body’s defense mechanism, and to counter this activity by free radicals, a lot of research is being done to study how the quantity of antioxidants can be included in the diet or added through a dietary supplement.

In light of the role free radicals play in the onset of aging and disease, it is important to ensure our diets include a rich and diverse supply of antioxidants to improve the health of our cells throughout our bodies and to protect our cells from the ravages of oxidation. But what are some of the best natural sources of antioxidants?

Great Sources of Antioxidants

Blueberries – Some of the healthiest fruits are berries, and blueberries are one of the top quality berries containing plenty of antioxidants while maintaining lower sugar content then most other fruits.

D, Chief of the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging in Boston is working with blueberries to examine their potential to help improve motor skills and reverse the short-term memory loss that comes with aging.

Other fruits – Delicious fruits that are at the top of the antioxidant chart include strawberries, blackberries and grapes, besides blueberries.

Garlic – Garlic is a terrific source of antioxidants. Eating more garlic (in raw or cooked forms) is associated with a lower incidence of heart disease because of its antioxidant properties.

Extra virgin olive oil – This oil is another source of antioxidants. There is also significant data to indicate it may also lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart disease and aid in the fight against colon cancer.


Recent studies have indicated that the antioxidants in fruit provide a whole host of health benefits: the anti-aging power of blueberries and the joint pain relieving properties found in cherries to name two.

This world is full of good, wholesome foods that are high in antioxidants. We just need to eat them.