Blackberries are a source of polyphenol antiox...

Blackberries are a source of polyphenol antioxidants (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The human body has been described as a carbon-oxygen machine running at 98.6 degrees.  Each human body is made up of literally trillions of cells.  One of the processes that is constantly occurring in the cells is oxidation.  Oxidation occurs when oxygen combines with cells.  Many of us see this process when we see rust on steel or see how a sliced apple turns brown, but it is happening continuously in the body.  While oxidation normally doesn’t damage the cells, there are times when it creates free radicals.

Free radicals are cells where an electron is removed or added by the oxidation process, and this creates a cell that will act abnormally and damage the DNA in other cells.  This causes the damaged cell to in turn damage other cells and the process can multiply quickly.  Generally, most of the free radicals are handled by antioxidants produced by the body.  However,  if not checked, free radicals can have dangerous effects on health.

To complicate matters, people are constantly getting free radicals from exposure to tobacco smoke, smog and even from the toxins in food and water.

An antioxidant repairs the free radical cell by balancing the electrons in the free radical cell without itself becoming a free radical.    It is important that the body have sufficient antioxidants to handle any free radicals.

There are many antioxidants in the foods we eat.  Some of the better known antioxidants are:

• Vitamin A
• Vitamin E
• Glutathione (an amino acid)