There are different types of antioxidants and each antioxidant has a different structure, or “look” so to speak. It is beyond the scope of this site to go into detail on the actual chemistry of antioxidants since we want to keep the explanations simple.
Consider the following, using money as an analogy to help us explain how antioxidants work:
1) If you are a living person that means your body is performing chemical reactions to keep itself alive
2) Whenever a chemical reaction occurs electrons are being transferred. Like money being transferred from one person to another
3) Electrons are the “currency”/”money” for chemical reactions
4) Electrons are happy when they are in pairs
5) When electrons/money is in pairs it’s like having a whole dollar bill. When the electron/money is alone, it’s like having $0.99 in change. Which would you rather have: $0.99 in change or a whole dollar?
6) Sometimes chemical reactions will cause an electron to be all by itself. When the electron is alone this creates a free radical. A free radical is like having $0.99 in change and will want to do whatever it takes to become a whole dollar again (even if it means stealing from the neighbors)
7) Think of the free radical as a charity, and it needs money/an electron “donated” to it so it can be a whole dollar again
8) The antioxidant is like a wealthy person who is looking to donate money to a charity
9) The antioxidant/wealthy person sees the free radical/charity in need, donates money/an electron to the free radical/charity
10) The electron is happy and instead of having $0.99 in change you have a whole dollar
And don’t worry about the antioxidant. Much like the wealthy person, the antioxidant is happy & has a whole dollar even after it donates its electron/money.
Whew! That wasn't so hard now was it? And to think we were able to do it without you having to go into any painful chemistry lessons (no offense to those who are chemistry lovers).
At this point since you understand how antioxidants work you should read up on the benefits & the best ways to getting antioxidants and how they help our battle against free radicals.