The process of oxidation is where it all begins. The minute your body starts to process oxygen in order to produce energy is the first step to potentially developing a disease or starting the slow process of aging.
It’s normal and it is a part of life. Certainly, it can’t be completely dispelled. It can however be controlled. Now, by “control”, we don’t mean controlling the process of oxidation itself, but controlling the outcome of it.
The oxidation process is what makes a cut apple turn brown and causes the surface of butter to turn dark yellow. Our bodies will always be vulnerable to oxidation and it is something that is beyond our hands to control. During oxidation, certain chemical substances are produced and among them are those that are highly reactive and chemically unstable. These substances are called free radicals.
Free radicals can be harmful to the body, especially if there is an excess of them. They may cause damage to the cell membranes, causing them to weaken. Because free radicals are chemically unstable, they have this bad habit of stealing electrons from stable molecules and in so doing, turn these molecules into free radicals themselves. The result is a chain reaction which can only be stopped with the entrance of antioxidants.
Herbal antioxidants are the body’s natural defenses against harmful radicals. Their function is to stop free radicals from “attacking” other healthy molecules and causing a chain reaction. Because of this function, herbal antioxidants are said to play a role in the prevention and potential cure of various degenerative diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer’s, heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, atherosclerosis, and several others.
If there is one other thing you need to know about herbal antioxidants, it is that they are not naturally found in the body. Human beings are one of the few organisms that cannot produce their own herbal antioxidants for the body’s use. That is why we have to depend on our diet in order to get our dose of herbal antioxidants.
Herbal antioxidants are of course found in fresh produce, fruits, and vegetables. A large number of members of the berry family are excellent sources of herbal antioxidants. In fact, most herbal antioxidants you find sold in health food stores today are comprised mainly of berry extracts. Studies have shown that berries are rich in certain herbal antioxidants that help reduce atherosclerosis by acting on the agents that causes the clogging and the hardening of the arteries.