What Are Antioxidants, Why Care About Them?
We’re always hearing about antioxidants these days, usually in reference to the nutrient-rich “superfoods” that contain them. They’re not just another passing fad; there’s legitimate science at work here.
To understand antioxidants, you have to start with free radicals, something we all have and would be better off without. Free radicals are unstable molecules – usually oxygen molecules — with unpaired electrons. They don’t want to remain unpaired, though, so they wander around the body in search of electrons to “steal” from other molecules. When they take electrons from other molecules, those molecules in turn often become damaged themselves and transform into harmful free radicals. It’s a bit of a vicious cycle.
You’ll find plenty of antioxidant-rich sources in many of the foods you may already eat, but you still may have nutritional gaps that need to be filled.
It’s tough to stay on track with your nutritional goals if you’ve got a busy lifestyle. A good supplement can help you fill in the gaps. The THRIVE 8-Week Experience is formulated with high quality antioxidants, along with plant extracts, vitamins, minerals, probiotics and much more — to provide the nutritional support you need to live life on all cylinders and fight free radicals. In addition, THRIVE Activate, in all three delicious flavors, was designed to, among other benefits, provide your body with support against free radicals.
Vitamins C and E are both antioxidants, as are the minerals selenium and manganese. You can also find plant compounds, like beta carotene and lycopene, that act like antioxidants. Good food sources of antioxidants, which have been dubbed “superfoods,” include wild blueberries, blackberries, cranberries, dark chocolate, kidney beans, pecans, artichokes, strawberries, raspberries, black beans, Red Delicious apples, Granny Smith apples, russet potatoes, black plums and Gala apples. Several herbs also are high in antioxidants: cinnamon, turmeric, cumin, cilantro, basil, oregano, cocoa and ginger among them.
When free radical production gets out of control, our health suffers. The term oxidative stress describes the state at which the body’s defenses can no longer keep up with the production of free radicals.
What drives up production of free radicals? Several triggers, including:
- Carcinogens like cigarette smoke, air pollution, water pollution, pesticides, herbicides and asbestos
- Deep-fried food; smoked and barbecued food
- Fatty foods including meat and cheese
- Excessive stress
- Radiation and sunlight
- Some medications, as they break down in the body
So where do antioxidants enter the picture? They help protect the body from the damage these free radicals cause.
Many of us just don’t get enough antioxidants in our regular diet, and that’s where supplements come in. With THRIVE and a healthy antioxidant-rich diet, you can get more of the fuel your body needs to fight free radicals.