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What Are Free Radicals and Antioxidants?

Why Is Everyone So Obsessed With Antioxidants? The Info You Need to Know

If you're wondering why there seems to have been an influx of health and wellness products emphasizing their antioxidizing properties in the past few years, you're probably not alone.

And though it may seem like a clever marketing ploy to get you in a panic, oxidation in your body has dangerous effects, and enriching your diet with foods and supplements to aid your body's antioxidizing efforts is important.

The bad guys at the root of it all are free radicals, which are the result of natural biochemical reactions. However, they can also be generated by drinking alcohol, smoking, eating fried foods, and being exposed to air pollutants and pesticides.

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Although free radicals are naturally occurring in our bodies, they can cause major damage, because when they latch onto healthy cells, they compromise their normal functions through the process of oxidation.

And because free radical reactions (oxidation) in our bodies can lead to the deterioration of healthy cells, that in turn lead to degenerative diseases including various cancers, it's important to decrease your exposure to free-radical-generating substances, as well as increase your body's chances of fighting their harmful effects. That's where antioxidants come in!

It's important to note, though, that your body needs a balance of free radicals and antioxidants to function, so you can't and shouldn't eat with the aim of completely ridding your body of the former. Think about adding more antioxidants to your diet by eating goji berries, blueberries, pecans, kidney beans, and dark chocolate.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Sheila Gim
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