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Let me help you with a mental picture of what antioxidants actually do inside our bodies: All of our cells are made up of molecules and molecules are made of atoms. All atoms have electrically charged electrons whirling around them. This gives molecules an overall electrical charge. The atoms that make up the molecule all like to have a certain number of electrons in their outer “shell.” This desire to have enough electrons is to stabilize (or kind of cancel out) their positive or negative charge. Once filled, they‘re stable and happy. However, when not filled, because of their overall electrical charge, they “pull” anything with an opposite charge that happens into the neighborhood in order to fill their need for a partner and gain their strong desire for stability (not unlike us humans-lol).  

Free radicals are a bit like bullies from another neighborhood with a powerful desire/charge to snatch any electron looking for a partner in their path. They‘re ruthless and unfeeling. They will systematically take-out other cells to fill their shell and get what they want—even if it means taking out entire organs...or worse...thus, the beginnings of the disease process. A great visual to help you understand what’s happening here is to think of what happens when you pour undiluted bleach on fabric—or god forbid, your hand. Yeah, that got your attention...OUCH! And it won’t stop!!! Bleach is a an excellent example of a molecule with a very strong desire/charge to partner with anything—NOW, in order to fill any needy shells. The process by which it removes color and almost anything it touches, is called “Oxidation.” Starting to make sense (anti-oxidant)? A free radical “Oxidizes” almost everything it touches in your body! Whew! You mean that’s what happens in your body? Um...yeah...pretty much. The stronger the charge on a molecule, the worse the damage. This is as serious as a heart attack folks.  

There’s good news here though, so please don’t fret. There are many vitamins one can take that can be more powerful than many free radicals. Their ability to do to free radicals what free radicals do to us, by latching on to them before they can do their dirty work, is why we need them. How radical is that??  

So, here’s the thing: If you do what mother told you from the get go, and eat your fruits and veggies, chances are you already have tons of “Swat-Team” like molecules floating around in your body just looking to bust some free radicals. (This process is more commonly referred to as “Prevention” : ) But...yeah. If you're eating a lousy diet, drinking a ton of booze, and not even bothering with some feeble attempt at health by taking a vitamin or guessed it. You‘re not gonna know about the bullies till one of your organs is screaming for help. Then you have to go somewhere and get yelled at for not taking care of yourself, on top of trying to do damage control—if it can even be done.  

Just do yourself a favor...actually, do us all a favor. Be a grown-up about this and eat right, k? I’m tired of the skyrocketing health care costs. And if you think your lack of self care isn’t influencing that, think again. Type II diabetes (yeah, the preventable kind) is the leading cause of rising health care costs in America...kinda pathetic, don’t ya think? For those of you who are already living a life of disciplined wellness, my hat is off to you. Thank you, not only for taking care of the only body you have, thus taking the excess financial strain off of society, but for setting an example for the rest of us. I’m proud of you and proud to be a member of your group. Keep up the great work!  

Stay fit, stay happy!


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