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What are antioxidants and why do we need them?

Updated: Mar 14, 2022

Glucose is the primary fuel of the human body, including our brain and muscles. We consume glucose and breathe in oxygen to make the energy needed to power our bodies. The process of oxidizing glucose to make energy generates free radicals.

But why would we evolve to have a negative reaction to our primary fuel? In nature all sugars and starches came pre-packaged with protective compounds, like antioxidants. Over the millions of years we evolved, there was no such thing as sugar water, which can oxidize fat in our blood and cause a drop in vitamin E levels in our bloodstream. But if we drink the same amount of sugar in the form of orange juice, we don’t get that spike in oxidation, because the sugar in fruit comes prepackaged with antioxidants.

If we don’t eat phytonutrient-rich plant foods with each meal, then for hours after we eat, our bodies are tipped out of balance into a pro-oxidative state, which can set us up for oxidant stress diseases like cardiovascular diseases, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, chronic kidney disease, neurodegenerative diseases, cancer and other age related diseases. So we should eat as many phytonutrient-rich foods as we can to prevent exaggerated and prolonged metabolic, oxidative, and immune imbalance. Over time this could supersede our defense and repair systems, and manifest in cellular dysfunction, disease, and ultimately death.

Read our post 'top 5 reasons to eat more antioxidants'



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