Do the words free radicals, oxidative damage, detox, antioxidants, etc. sound familiar to you? But, you don’t know the exact science behind them? Read on…
Due to our hectic lives we often tend to have compromised diet. Also, many elements like pollution and exposure to sun contributes to health problems. Hectic lifestyle means less time for workout, and many tend to skip workout or often don’t do it enough. All these things can not just add up to physical stress but mental stress too. If one has maintain optimum health one needs to have a balanced diet, do workout and take better care of the body to prevent health problems. One of the best way to avoid health problems and pre-mature aging from free radicals is to increase the intake of antioxidants.
Free Radical and Antioxidants Relationship
Free radicals are organic molecules. They are basically atoms or group of atoms which have an unpaired number of electrons which makes them unstable. Hence, they are called radicals. These free radicals are highly reactive and can start a chain reaction. These free radicals will try to react with any living cells in the body so that they can become stable.
In such a case what role do antioxidants play? Antioxidants provide the extra electron to free radicals and so free radicals are not free radicals anymore but are stable molecules. But, this arises a question – won’t the antioxidants become unstable? This doesn’t happen, as antioxidants tend to be stable in either state.
This was about the electron sharing that occurs between free radicals and antioxidants. Due to this action of antioxidants they are often called scavengers of free radicals. The term oxidative damage is many times used, because the most common form of free radical which occurs in nature are oxygen free radicals. Hence, the term oxidative damage. Antioxidants stop the oxidative damage of free radicals make them stable, and help to move them out of the body. Thus, they help in a natural and effective detox.
Free Radical Causes and Damage on Health
So, where do free radical come from and what damage can they do to one’s health? Environmental factors like sun exposure, pollution, preservatives in food, etc. can lead to free radicals. So, prolonged exposure to sun is mostly not recommended. Also, pollution means even exhaust from vehicles can lead to free radicals exposure. The amount of pesticides and fertilizers released in the environment due to farming produces free radical. One can also get free radical from their diet. Many food products contain preservatives, synthetic colors, flavors, etc. Other causes of free radical are radiation exposure, mental stress, physical stress, and intake of bad fats.
Free radicals present in a little amount in the body is tolerable, but with our current lifestyle we are constantly exposed to a lot of free radicals. Hence, one needs to combat them. If they are not, then they start damaging any living cell like DNA or the cell membrane. Due to this, cells will not function to their optimum or might even die. Too much of oxidative damage over time can lead to many health problems like pre-mature aging, dry skin, common illnesses like cold and severe diseases like cancer and heart disease.
Important Antioxidants and Health Benefits
Some of the powerful antioxidants are C, A, E and beta-carotene. However, you don’t have to go out of your way to find out sources of these powerful antioxidants. All you have to do is eat plenty of fresh and raw fruits and vegetables, and preferably veggies and fruits of organic produce. As organic produce is free of any pesticides or chemicals. Always, keep your plate as colorful as possible and you will get plenty of antioxidants and different kinds of antioxidants. As brighter the color of a fruit or a veggie, the more the amount of antioxidant present in it. Berries, carrots and nuts are one of the best sources of antioxidants.
Antioxidants will help you fight free radical damage, keep you healthy, boost your immune system, and protect from premature aging. So, take care of the body better by eating a healthy diet. Also, for further detox do at least half an hour of exercise everyday and reduce your stress by performing meditation or yoga.