What are antioxidants and what do they do?
Antioxidants are small molecules that protect the cell from cellular damage caused by free radicals.
Free radicals are atoms or groups of atoms that have an unpaired electron, and can be formed within the body by interactions with certain molecules and also environmental factors. Free radicals are highly reactive and can damage sensitive parts of your cells such as your DNA and your cell membrane. Free radicals can also self-propagate in chain reactions meaning that they can interact with other small atoms to form even more free radicals and so on.
Of course your body has a defence against these damaging agents, and that is where antioxidants come in. They are the good guys, which ‘scavenge’ free radicals by terminating their chain reaction and stop them damaging cellular components in their tracks.