What are antioxidants? They are molecules that help our bodies to neutralise free radicals. Every day our bodies produce free radicals as a by-product of our natural processes. This really fun video that explains how the free radicals work and how to combat them with antioxidants:
Wikipedia describes antioxidants as molecules that inhibit the oxidation of other molecules, where the oxidation is a chemical reaction that transfers electrons or hydrogen from one substance to an oxidising agent.
Oxidation reactions can produce free radicals. In turn, these radicals can start chain reactions like that illustrated in the video above. When the chain reaction occurs in a cell, it can cause damage or death to the cell. Antioxidants terminate these chain reactions by removing free radical intermediates, and inhibit other oxidation reactions.
This short video gives a different view in answering the question on what are antioxidants, by acknowledging that as your brain represents just 2% of your body weight but demands 20% of your resting metabolism, it needs help with your selection of the right foods high in antioxidants:
Another key area when looking into what antioxidants are, is what is understood about them helping to slow the ageing process and minimising free radical damage. Our bodies manufacture antioxidants such as superoxide dismutaze and catalase, but in doing so they eventually reach our skin in small amounts. Even if eating a fabulous diet rich in fruits and vegetables containing quality antioxidants, only about 2-3% will reach our skin.
This is where topically applied antioxidants help enormously to boost the health of and protect the skin, which is subjected to thousands of free radical exposures every day. These include:
Free radicals damage skin by leading to: