Remember from my first post, I listed seven basic core supplements that need to be addressed to maintain optimum health. Most of these are hard to receive through a typical American diet and need to be included in a daily supplementation regimen. These core supplements are vitamins, enzymes, probiotics, antioxidants, fatty acids, minerals, and super foods. This week we are discussing antioxidants. To fully understand the importance of antioxidants and why you should include large amounts of them in your diet every day, we must first understand two terms: oxidation and free radicals.
Oxidation is simply the combination of any substance with oxygen. (It gets much deeper but this definition will work for the scope of this article.) A cut apple turning brown is an example of oxidation. Oxidation causes fire to burn, oils to go rancid, iron to rust, and copper to patina. Researchers also believe that oxidation is what causes the body to deteriorate and develop degenerative diseases as we age.
Oxidation is used by the body to break down the food we eat and convert it to energy. The immune system also uses oxidation to destroy microbes and fight infections. When your body breaks down food it forms toxins in the form of free radicals. Think back to Chemistry 101 for a second. The main thing I want you to understand about free radicals is that they are charged particles that contain at least one unpaired electron. Because electrons like to be in pairs, an unpaired electron likes to steal electrons from other molecules. (Think of balance and how everything likes to move towards a balanced state.) They easily attract and bond with electrons around them, stealing them from other molecules in their vicinity. If the free radical is floating through or around your heart, it steals the electron from the heart tissue. If the free radical is near a nerve cell, immune system sensor cell, or arterial wall cell, for example, it will steal an electron from any of those tissues. Anywhere a free radical steals an electron, it creates what’s called oxidative damage or oxidative stress. The free radicals that cause oxidative stress can be compared to tiny “arsonists,” starting inflammatory “fires” all over the body.
As I stated above, biochemical reactions in the body lead to formation of free radicals. A healthy body can keep these free radicals in check. I must also mention that not all free radicals are bad. Your immune system produces free radicals to destroy viruses and bacteria. Some free radicals are involved in making hormones and activating enzymes that are vital to life. The problem occurs when excessive free radical formation occurs. When there is an excessive amount of free radicals floating around in your body, they steal electrons from other molecules; in doing so, they are actually making even more free radicals. This starts a vicious cycle the leads to excessive free radical accumulation in blood and tissues.
Many things can increase the amount of free radicals in your body. Exposure to radiation, from the sun or x-rays, activates the formation of free radicals. Exposure to environmental pollutants such as tobacco smoke and automobile exhaust increases the amount of free radicals in your system. Eating a diet high in refined sugars, white flour, fat, and cooking fats at high temperatures, produce large amounts of circulating free radicals.
Free radicals, through oxidative reactions, can actually alter the way your cells code their genetic material. This leads to changes in protein structure inside the body. The body’s immune system may then see these altered proteins as a foreign substance and try to destroy it. The formation of mutated proteins can damage the immune system and lead to certain types of cancers, as well as many other autoimmune diseases. Oxidative stress is known to cause 50-80% of chronic, degenerative diseases like heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, macular degeneration, Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Just like the name states, antioxidants are anti oxidation. Antioxidants protect the body from free radicals by bonding with the free electron, thereby neutralizing and keeping them from damaging your body. Many vitamins, minerals and enzymes have strong antioxidant properties. These include vitamin A, beta-carotene, vitamins C and E; the minerals selenium and zinc; the enzymes superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase; even the hormone melatonin is a powerful antioxidant. Because antioxidants destroy free radicals, they actually detoxify and cleanse the body as a whole.
Organic, fresh, vine-ripened fruits and vegetables are loaded with antioxidants; however, most of the produce in local mega-marts have been picked when they are green and allowed to ripen in cold storage. This means the produce on the shelves is actually weeks old and they were not allowed to fully mature before picking, which fails to lock in the high nutrient and antioxidant potential of that produce. Even organic produce has been shown to lack certain nutrients and antioxidants because of soil conditions and time of picking. Because of these facts, it is a good idea to supplement your diet with a powerful antioxidant supplement. My favorite is NingXia Red (pronounced Ning’-sha Red) from Young Living Essential Oils.
NingXia Red (Ning’-sha Red)
NingXia Red combines the extraordinary wolfberry superfruit with 100% pure essential oils in a powerful whole-body nutrient infusion. The benefits of the legendary Ningxia wolfberry have been sought after for centuries and ongoing research continues to yield exciting, new health properties of this tiny berry. NingXia Red contains whole Ningxia wolfberry puree, a superfruit blend of blueberry, aronia, cherry, pomegranate, and plum juices, natural stevia extract, grape seed extract, pure vanilla extract, and the YL essential oils of orange, Yuzu, Lemon, and Tangerine.
NingXia Red scored 1500 on the ORAC scale and an amazing 363 on the S-ORAC scale. No other product on the market comes close to offering the powerful antioxidants that NingXia Red contains. I also trust and know that this product, formulated by D. Gary Young, is held to the high, exacting standards that all Young Living products and oils are held to.
I recommend taking 1 oz in the morning and 1 oz in the evening. During times of stress, I always increase my dose to 2 ounces, twice a day. My body lets me know when I miss it!
Next week we will be discussing the role fatty acids play in our health.
*Our team of oilers, called Anointing Nations, made the resolution this year to commit to educating our team daily. “YL – It’s a Lifestyle” is a daily post that will be on our private Facebook group. I was asked to write weekly for this, so every Wednesday, I will focus on the YL Lifestyle and share how I live it daily with my family. If you would like to know how to get Young Living products, please message me or follow this link to my website for more information.
**All the statements, comments and photos on this website have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. All medical evaluations and decisions should be made by a licensed professional.