ANTIOXIDANTS: NATURES CHAIN BREAKERS

When I think of the body, I am reminded of a fun game we played as kids. Most games of tag involved someone who was “it,” and everyone else ran as fast as they could to avoid getting tagged. But in this game, what started out with only one “it” soon grew to have many “its. ” This game involved capturing tagged victims and forming a long chain of boys and girls, all with the unified goal of tagging all the rest of the runners. Our game wasn’t over until everyone had been gobbled up by the infected chain.

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Imagine if in our game of tag we were able to break those “it” bonds. Instead of having long chains of captured runners, we could send out someone to break the bonds, freeing a continuous supply of new healthy runners. Our game would go on, allowing hours of play.


In nature’s game of tag, antioxidants are those chain breakers. Found in plants, antioxidants inhibit the oxidation of molecules and even “gobble up” rogue radicals. Antioxidants are naturally occurring phytonutrients. They are crucial for homeostasis, supporting the body by eliminating too many free radicals. Whether free radicals form through the natural process of oxidation or by outside toxins (poor diet, pollution, smoking), antioxidants help deal with free radical damage, keeping mitochondria healthy. Healthy mitochondria mean healthy cells.


Research shows a plant-based diet including lots of leafy greens and bright colors is a sure way to give the body the support it needs to repair free radical damage. The same disease-fighting nutrients that help keep plants healthy during the energy transfer process of photosynthesis help keep our cells healthy during our chemical process of energy making. Foods rich in vitamin C and E and beta carotene have been shown to lower oxidative stress.


But let us not forget the other important parts of the plants (stem, root, bark). Essential oils are also powerful sources of phytonutrients. Containing the life blood of plants, their constituents support our bodies naturally. Clary Sage, just one of many essential oils containing phytonutrients, has been shown to reduce cortisol. Additional studies of essential oils and their effectiveness in supporting the body show smelling lavender and rosemary decreases cortisol and increases free radical clean up. Plants, whether they are on our plates or found in essential oils, play a powerful role in our body’s defense against free radical damage.


So one has to ask: In your game of tag, who’s your chain breaker?


SOURCES:


When I think of the body, I am reminded of a fun game we played as kids. Most games of tag involved someone who was “it,” and everyone else ran as fast as they could to avoid getting tagged. But in this game, what started out with only one “it” soon grew to have many “its. ” This game involved capturing tagged victims and forming a long chain of boys and girls, all with the unified goal of tagging all the rest of the runners. Our game wasn’t over until everyone had been gobbled up by the infected chain. It was awkward and slow, but the chain would be victorious, snatching up the last runner.


Now you’re probably wondering, how in the world does this represent our bodies?


For our bodies to function properly, our cells need to be healthy. Healthy cells need fuel, and they receive it from our mitochondria. Mitochondria are tiny, highly specialized organelles that serve as the battery-charging centers of the body. Every main system in the body contains mitochondria. The heart alone is 40 percent mitochondria. The bigger the system, the more mitochondria is needed.


During energy transfer within the mitochondria, molecules in the cells can form unstable bonds. Known as free radicals, these cells roam the body looking for other compounds and molecules so they can

ANTIOXIDANTS: NATURES CHAIN BREAKERS

become stable. Their instability causes them to be toxic. Anything they attach to becomes just like them, a free radical. Linking themselves together, they form a chain reaction of damaged cells.


Although the formation of free radicals is a natural consequence of the chemical reaction that occurs during the energy transfer of food, having too many free radicals is a problem. The body sees the free radicals for the toxins they are and begins to wage war against them. Inflammation is the body’s defense to get rid of toxins. But just like everything else, too much of good thing is a bad thing. When an overload of free radicals cannot gradually be destroyed, their accumulation in the body generates oxidative stress.


According to the National Cancer Institute, “free radicals can be hazardous to the body and damage all major components of cells, including DNA, proteins and cell membranes. The damage to cells caused by free radicals, especially the damage to DNA, may play a role in the development of cancer and other health conditions. Cellular damage sets the body up for disease.” Just as with our game of tag, healthy cells begin to be outnumbered. Since the body is always seeking homeostasis, this is a big problem.

JENNIFER LORD

Jennifer Lord is an office director and distributor of Young Living Essential Oils. She has a personal commitment to whole-body wellness, with emphasis on nutrition and fitness. For a free consultation on the benefits of essential oils and how to implement them into your daily regimen, follow her on Facebook at “Nature’s Essential Truth” or contact her at Jennifer.lordcvlc@gmail.com.

more articles by Jennifer Lord