Why do we need antioxidants?

We keep hearing these words- apply antioxidant rich Vitamin C serum for good skin or eat antioxidant rich foods for better health. But what do they do? Let’s explore!

Our body breaks down the food you eat to produce energy using oxygen for the numerous biochemical reactions. This process generates free radicals. What are they? They are atoms that have one or more unpaired electrons. This makes them very unstable and very reactive because they are trying to either donate the unpaired electron or gain an electron to attain stability. They come in many shapes and sizes. Now free radicals are a normal part of the process of biochemical reactions and are produced when you exercise or as part of your immune system to get rid of infections. They become problematic when they are generated in excess or their production is not appropriately controlled. They will grab electrons from nearby proteins and destabilize them. They can snatch them from your DNA molecules and change the instructions coded in them, they can change the structure of proteins and alter its function, it can change the membrane structure of the cell and alter what goes in and out of a cell. This is how excess free radicals can lead to cancer, cause heart disease, neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s and other diseases depending on the proteins that are affected.

So what would cause the excess generation of free radicals? Ozone, air pollution, certain pesticides and cleaners, cigarette smoke, radiation and a diet high in fat, sugar and alcohol can lead to excess free radical generation. Now Mother Nature anticipated this and created various mechanisms to deal with excess free radicals. In other words, she created antioxidants! There are proteins called enzymes and vitamins like Vitamin E and Vitamin C and flavonoids, carotenoids and polyphenols from plants that help in the conversion of free radicals to harmless substances.

Research has taught us that the antioxidant alone from the plant is not effective. For instance, if you isolate beta-carotene alone from carrots, it will not be effective. It needs other components from the plant to exert its antioxidant effect. This is why we’ve tried to incorporate whole plant extracts in our products. Curcumin from turmeric, flavonoids from cacao and moringa leaves are some of the antioxidants in our products. Certain minerals like zinc are are also important for the activity of proteins. This is one of the reasons why we use zinc-rich pumpkin seeds. At zabardastreats, we want to make effective products, so you gain the most health benefit tastefully!