To understand the importance of antioxidants, you must first understand the importance of free radicals and their formation. This basic definition will give you a firm idea of what the term means. Basically, think of a school field trip. You know how the teacher pairs you up in the buddy system so you don't get lost getting off the bus, walking through the museum, getting back to the bus, and arriving safely back at school? Same concept goes here. Every molecule needs a buddy. Only as a pair are they stabilized and happy. When one is left lonely and without a buddy, it gets upset and pitches a tantrum, stealing someone else's buddy. This creates a domino effect of chaos.
Say what?! I just told you all they were bad, right? Well, for the most part... that is true. Environmental free radicals are bad, bad, bad to the core. They come from the sun, chemicals and synthetics, food, pollutants, and pharmaceuticals. Nature made radicals are actually produced by the body. For example, when you are stressed, your hormones produce excess cortisol. This can be detrimental to your health and wellbeing. Superoxide leakage is a factor of excess radicals as well. What this means is 5% of the time, there tends to be an error in relay of these molecules. This results in a skipped or leaked section where free radicals develop.