The Antioxidant Definition You've Been Waiting For
So what is an antioxidant exactly (AO for short)?
The simplest antioxidant definition I can think of is they are molecules which fight free radicals.
Um... ok. So what are free radicals?
The following illustration will explain what is an antioxidant and free radicals...
Picture a highway with 5 lanes. Each lane has cars driving on them and driving at about the same speed.
The highway itself can represent your whole body (or just a major organ) and the cars in each lane represent the cells, or movement, going on inside the body.
So far the traffic is moving steadily along with no traffic jams.
But lane #1 develops a crack.
A car in lane #1 hits the crack, spins out of control and ends up colliding with a car in lane #2.
The car in lane #2 also spins out of control from the collision and ends up colliding with the car in lane #3.
Soon a pinball effect occurs with each lane and all the cars are colliding into one another.
The crack in the lane mentioned earlier represents a free radical. And to fix this crack it needs to be filled in or repaired in some way.
This is where antioxidants come into play.
An antioxidant fills in the crack, the lane becomes smooth again and the cars drive relatively normal in their own respective lane.
This is how an antioxidant and free radicals work.
Keep in mind the body is constantly working and under stress daily and this illustration represent an isolated occurrence. Picture the same illustration and multiply the cracks by a factor of 1000 – and that’s being conservative.
Imagine the damage of 1000 cracks within a certain span of highway and all the cars colliding into each other. That is what your body goes through daily.
Luckily our bodies are very good at adapting to changes and one instance, or even a day’s worth of stresses won’t cause too much damage to your body. However, permanent damage does occur over a period of months and years of constant stress.
So what can we do about this?
The best thing is to find out about the benefits and sources of antioxidants.
And if you're looking for more in-depth knowledge on the antioxidant definition then we can dive a little deeper and find out how an antioxidant works.