So what's an antioxidant?
First off, we need to understand what oxidation is.
Oxidation is the process when oxygen combines with an element, i.e a cell, causing a chemical reaction that involves changing it. Typically, a free radical is a previously healthy cell which has had its electron taken by a bad cell, which means it’s become oxidized, and is now an unstable, harmful cell.
Nature provides us with the whole spectrum of nutrients to keep our body healthy via its own bio-intelligence, and antioxidants are one of these amazing nutrients. Constituents such as the vitamins C or E, are powerful antioxidants substances that prevent oxidation happening.
Antioxidants protect the body from damage caused by free radicals; they're one of the first lines of defence that the body employs to keep free radicals in check and prevent them from causing their chain reaction of damage to other cells. Antioxidant compounds can ‘donate’ electrons to unstable free radicals so they don't have to snatch electrons from unsuspecting nearby healthy cells. Importantly, antioxidants also stimulate apoptosis into action.
Plants also have their own immune system - they literally make their own, amazing, natural pesticide. Bugs and fungus want to eat the plant’s sugar, yet plants are clever enough to makes their own protection via its own sugar. Not daft, these plants. So, the plant creates a substance called resveratrol (resveratrol is a member of a group of plant compounds called polyphenols, which have powerful antioxidant properties), which kills the bug if it eats it - clever! Red grapes are especially high in resveratrol, and red wine is just one perk giving us plenty of this potent nutrient ;o)
Plant fructose also contains natural prebiotics which the multi-trillion gut cells use for food. If the gut microbiota is fed properly with prebiotics, this stimulates the immune system which surrounds the gut.
However, we need to take care of our flora and fauna. It's easy to take our soil for granted, that is, until we lose it. The soil beneath our feet is arguably one of the most under-appreciated assets on the planet. Without it, life would largely cease to exist while, when at its prime, this ‘black gold’ gives life.
In nature, plants thrive because of a symbiotic relationship with their surrounding environment, including micro-organisms in the soil. If we feed the soil, the plants feed us right back. Plants contain green chlorophyll, which takes the sun’s energy combined with water and Co2 to make its own natural sugar. From this it makes proteins and all the phytochemicals which protect us from disease.
The beauty of this whole business is that the middle of the chlorophyll molecule is magnesium, but there’s a bit of a vicious circle going on here. Our soil is well known for being deficient in minerals, especially magnesium, and if the plant doesn’t get enough magnesium from the soil to grow, it won’t make chlorophyll, so it won’t make enough of its sugar and its other chemicals.
The medicinal argument is beyond argument. Take the fructose and other natural sugars sitting in the plant matrix, in the middle of the natural plant’s cell membrane with the fibre and phytochemicals around it, and it gives health for free. But switch from natural sugar to refined, processed sugar, and the only thing you get for free is disease; obesity, diabetes, depression, heart disease and cancer, amongst other diseases that come with refined sugar.
Nature gives us natural medicine. Our grandmothers knew this and passed it down. We’re all made from the earth’s energy and substances (unless you’re an alien, of course). So, what’s going to work best in a broken body? Nature’s remedies. You’d think. But modern medicine has taken a little bit from plants, twisted it around a bit, patented it, told us it's the only medicine we're allowed to use, and makes a fortune from it. We live in hope that it fixes our bodies. Except it doesn't. What it does is simply cover up the symptoms, and keep us going back for more, which puts more money in BigPharma's pockets. Kerching.
Back to our car to the garage, where the mechanic says, “So turn up the radio. Can you hear it now?” Hmmm.
“When we feed the soil with artificials, it creates artificial plants, which make artificial animals, which make artificial people, and they’re all kept alive by artificial medicine”. Sir Albert Howard, the Godfather of Modern Scientific Aerobic Composting, “An Agricultural Testament”, 1943
Now we get to environmental pollutants that we’re not even consciously taking because we have no control over them. We’re living in a toxic world; chlorine and fluoride in our water; irradiation, pasteurisation and homogenisation of our foods; crop spraying, chemtrails, electro-smog (think cell phones and their towers which emit radiation); our water and air are contaminated and our soil is sick - you only have to look at the trees to see they’re gradually dying. The list goes on.
Our exposure to chemical pharmaceuticals and environmental toxins simply throws more fuel on the fire; for example, pesticides and fungicides have a hormonal effect which can damage cell DNA and make these mutant cells grow. Our bodies are simply not designed to be ingesting, or be exposed to, molecules that aren’t from nature. Put simply, toxins kill healthy cells, which damage the immune system.
We can take the control back through proper nutrition and by keeping the body’s healing mechanism strong, and the only way to do this on a permanent basis is to keep the body clean by way of Gentle Daily Detoxification.