It is impossible to explain how antioxidants work without first explaining what free radicals are.
Free radicals are molecules produced in the human body due to oxidative stress, a process which occurs naturally in the human body and is usually associated with ageing. Oxidative stress can come from many sources, which can be either internal or external. An example of an internal source of oxidative stress is inflammation, which causes the production of free radicals to increase. External factors well-known to all beauty and health fanatics include UV, cigarette smoke and exposure to pollution.
The damage caused by free radicals has been linked to speeding up different ageing processes, as well as certain health conditions such as stroke, heart disease and arthritis.
Antioxidants are believed to prevent or slow down damage caused by such free radicals. Oxidants can be both natural and synthetic. Natural oxidants get the most attention and can be found in plants and food, especially in fruit and vegetables.
Interestingly enough, different substances with antioxidant properties have unique benefits which are not interchangeable. That means that to enjoy a variety of antioxidant benefits, one has to be exposed to diverse sources of antioxidants.
CBD & Antioxidants
CBD, a chemical compound derived from hemp, is believed to have various antioxidant properties. While more research needs to be done on the topic, CBD has been shown to act similarly to other antioxidants, being able to capture free radicals or transform them into less harmful forms.
Hemp, a plant used for CBD extraction, contains various compounds (such as vitamin A and E) which have been known for a long time to show strong antioxidant properties.
For this reason, as well as many others, supplements and cosmetics with hemp, and especially CBD, have been gaining popularity across Europe.
History of Antioxidants
Surprisingly, antioxidants were first studied not with health and wellbeing in mind. Instead, originally the word was used to describe any chemical that could prevent the consumption of oxygen.
This is because the first studies about antioxidants focused on their usability in various industrial processes. For example, metal corrosion, vulcanisation of rubber or polymerisation of fuels often interfered with the efficient performance of industrial machinery. As they were caused by oxygen exposure, finding a chemical which could prevent oxygen from making such an impact was a top priority.
It was only much later that scientists discovered that antioxidants might play an important role in living organisms. Antioxidant research on humans began by exploring the properties of vitamin E, and scientists have since been trying to figure out which substances have the antioxidant properties necessary to help prevent, or decrease, cell damage caused by free radicals.
Good to know about Antioxidants
It is important to know that not all food is an equally good source of antioxidants.
Processed food tends to have fewer antioxidants than cooked or fresh food. Cooking certain food (for example, tomatoes) might also increase its antioxidant properties, while in other cases (such as zucchini), it might decrease such properties compared to when consumed raw.
The only sure way of delivering a good amount of substances that can protect your body from free radicals is to have a very diverse and varied diet. The more colour you have on your plate, the better your chances of finding a high amount of antioxidants.