For years now, we have been seeing ads for fruits high in antioxidants, such as pomegranates or blueberries. We even hear about facial creams infused with antioxidants that are supposed to help reduce the effects of aging. Antioxidants are supposed to be the super hero molecule of our body – designed to eradicate cancer and boost our immune systems to super human levels.
Antioxidants are indeed good, and do a great job fighting free radicals which have been linked to heart disease and cancer, but there are a few bits of information surrounding antioxidants that may be misleading – and may be preventing people from getting adequate consumption of these super hero molecules:
We Need to Destroy All Free Radicals
Free radicals are actually necessary and part of the metabolic process oxidation which occurs during vigorous workouts, and they are also used by our bodies to destroy bacteria. In short, we do need them to survive. Free radicals become bad for us when there are too many in our systems. Activities such as smoking or increased sun exposure can increase free radical levels to a point where even normal antioxidant levels are unable to defeat them, thus allowing free radicals to make us more susceptible to disease and cell damage.
An Antioxidant is an Antioxidant
Not all antioxidants are created equal. Some are stronger than others, and each perform a different function – even if they seem similar. Just because you are getting plenty of Vitamin E, doesn’t mean you should be skimping on the Vitamin C. You need a variety of antioxidants, and you should be trying to get that variety through the freshest sources possible – just a single antioxidant supplement won’t cut it.