SOD: Cuss Word, Green Grass, or Anti-Aging Wonder?

One of my British buddies is very fond of saying, “You sod!” or “Sod that!” so naturally when I first came across the acronym SOD in a nutrition book I thought that it referred to the British cuss word.

Here in our farming community, the word “sod” means green grass. People around here cultivate sod, which they then sell to developers to create new lawns.

But my favorite definition of the word “sod” is Superoxide Dismutase, the acronym for which is SOD. Neither green grass nor a cuss word, SOD is an extremely important antioxidant in the body. In fact, we pretty much can’t live, at least not well, without SOD.

So What the Heck is SOD Anyway?
SOD is an antioxidant, which basically means that it’s the body’s police and cleanup crew. SOD goes around the body and neutralizes free radicals, specifically the superoxide free radical, and other destructive antioxidants. So far that all sounds good, if a bit boring. So let me put it in terms that are a little more stark:

Throughout our lives, our bodies produce about 3 TONS of superoxide free radicals.

That equals a lot of damage to the body, since the superoxide radical can attack cells, damage DNA, and even be a pre-cursor to cancer. All this makes SOD super important. In fact, it is such an important part of keeping our body’s healthy that whenever we are stressed, our brains immediately increase the production of SOD.

What Else Does SOD Do for Us?
In addition to general policing of free radicals around the body, SOD has many other important functions, including:

– keeping cell membranes and tissues supple
– keeping gums healthy and protecting them from gingivitis, especially among smokers
– protect our DNA from the superoxide free radical

SOD is one of our body’s first line defenders against free radicals, and basically protects the body from free radicals on all levels, from the cellular level to organ systems.

Where Do We Get SOD?
All organisms contain and produce SOD, some more than others. There are actually three kinds of SOD, one each associated with copper, zinc, and manganese. When we suffer from deficiencies in any of these minerals, then our bodies can’t produce SOD.

Well sod that!

Luckily, we can get SOD in the foods we eat. Foods that are high in SOD include:

concentrated wheat sprouts
AFA blue-green algae

You can also boost your intake of copper and zinc by eating foods including:

– crimini mushrooms
– collard greens, spinach, and chard
– asparagus

To boost your intake of manganese, try these foods:

– oats and brown rice
– berries like strawberries and raspberries
– green beans
– collard greens, spinach, and chard

For humans and animals, I have personally found that supplementation with wheat sprouts is a particularly convenient “all in one” solution that doesn’t require a lot of shopping or cooking. Wheat sprouts also support joint health and have many antioxidant properties of their own. Enjoy!

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