This week when I was at the SLC farmer’s market I was chatting away about the benefits of raspberries including being antioxidant powerhouses. One of the folks I was talking too gave me a blank look which surprised me but maybe shouldn’t have. Antioxidant is one of those words which has become a buzzword in the nutrition industry. Everyone knows they’re supposed to be good, but not everyone knows why you’d want them. So I looked up antioxidants in my handy food science guide (wikipedia, ahem) and it gave me a lot of scientific results. They’re pretty good results too, but to understand what it’s saying…well…college level classes in biology help. What good is that to most people? Really…not much.
My quest is to simplify a bit. Picture a party. There are guests there, good music and dancing and a buffet table full of some very nice desserts. The problem is that there is one less dessert than there are people and no one is about to share. So what happens is that everyone wants a dessert and they keep taking desserts from each other. They’re never balanced, no one gets a chance to eat and everyone is grumpy. That’s the effect of oxidization on our cells or in our food. Brown, mushy, unhappy cells and food and no one is eating dessert.
Foods high in antioxidants, like raspberries, jump into the mix and bring extra desserts (electrons) which they’re happy to share with everyone. More electrons makes for a balanced body party and happy cells. Happy cells are more resistant to decay and disease and able to fight off any party crashers or people that listen to bad elevator music.
Fortunately the best sources of antioxidants are the ones we get naturally and, at least in my opinion, are welcome at the party buffet!