Performance Nutrition Blog

  • The Radicals are Out to Get Us! The Free Radicals that is…

    No, free radicals aren’t a political party. They aren’t a group of people who believe in freeing all political or religious radicals either.

    Simply put, they’re atoms. Atoms with an odd number of electrons…meaning that one electron is unpaired.

    You’re probably wondering what the big deal is with having one unpaired electron. The easiest way to illustrate this danger is to liken an unpaired electron to a gorgeous girl with deep-seeded insecurity issues. Come on, we all know one of those. She’s beautiful, everyone tells her she’s beautiful, but she can’t seem to believe it herself. About the only way she knows how to obtain a sense of self-worth is by constantly being in a relationship.

    And when she’s not in a relationship, all hell breaks loose.

    Electrons, like your gorgeously crazy friend with deep-seeded insecurity issues, like to be paired. They want a fellow electron with whom to share their life. In fact, they need a companion electron just to remain stable. God forbid an electron become unpaired. An unpaired electron is liable to lose its mind, blow up the joint and take any and all victims with it. In the unpaired electron’s mind, if it’s unhappy then everyone else has to be unhappy too.

    In other words, free radicals are highly reactive. And that’s precisely why they’re dangerous. They can start a chain reaction of events in your body that damages a cell’s membrane, or worse, damages your DNA.

    So what births a free radical? The human body generates free radicals as a by product of converting food into energy. They can also be formed as a result of exposure to sunlight. Free radicals exist in the food that you eat and in the air that you breathe. In other words, free radicals are all around us.

    They’re everywhere, man. How do we combat the radical enemy???


    Sound familiar? It’s a term commonly tossed around in the media. I’ve seen it most often mentioned in commercials for supplements, shampoos, sunscreens and lotions. But unless you’ve actively sought out to understand what an antioxidant is, then you’ve probably never truly understood why they’re so important for your body. They’re important because they fight the enemy.

    Antioxidants are your friends. They are willing to donate one of their electrons to the free radical without becoming a crazy free radical themselves.

    Wow Darlena, thanks for the tremendously insightful information! Where might I locate some of these powerful antioxidants of which you speak?

    Eat your fruits and vegetables. They contain plenty ‘o antioxidants.


    Feeling like this educational post failed to incentivize you towards eating more fruits and veggies? Listen to this podcast on how we can incentivize both children and adults towards consuming a healthier diet.


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