Antioxidants are naturally occurring compounds found in plant-based foods that can help to protect the health of the cells in your body. They are called antioxidants because they work to prevent the damage caused by oxidants.
What are oxidants?
Oxidants are free radicals that can enter the body in many different ways, such as through the foods that you eat and the pollutants that you are exposed to, but they are also produced naturally in your body. The latter is most commonly the case when your body creates them to protect against viruses and microbes that may be developing. This is good in the short term, but when you have too many they can begin to have a detrimental affect on the cells and lead to ill-health conditions.
Although there are thousands of different types of antioxidants, the most commonly known are flavanols, resveratrol and lycopene. Having a balance of different antioxidants present in your body is pivotal to maintaining optimum health.
Too much of a good thing
If you overload your body with antioxidants, such as through the use of supplements, then you can actually end up doing more harm than good. When too many antioxidants are present your body becomes less able to defend itself adequately with naturally occurring antioxidants. However, it is very difficult to consume too many through dietary sources, so keep it natural, avoid supplements and you’ll be just fine!