This will be a summary, for the previous two pieces on Free Radicals were complex. So here goes. Let’s go back to the cell and continue from there.
For the body to perform at optimum, the thousands of functions operating in it must be not only kept in balance but should sync with every other part and body function. When it gets out of balance on a cellular level, that must be put back in balance or it will affect a neighboring cell and then spreads, weakening the body to be susceptible to disease and if not handled, death.
A cell consists of several moving parts and breaking it down into its component parts there is the atom and its subparts. The atom contains electrons spinning around a nucleus. These electrons must be kept in rhythm, and if out of rhythm, it is like a band with each musician playing a different song in a different key, or could result in chaos. When this occurs, the electrons previously paired perfectly and dancing in rhythm, break up and go looking for a partner resulting in stealing partners from other dancers. They become Free Radicals, which sets up a condition called oxidation and consequently oxidative stress. (Remember oxidation is like rust). Here it is called “oxidative stress.”
This sets up the body for internal stress and like any mechanism (and that is essentially what the body is – a meat machine) it will become weakened and malfunction.
Effects of Oxidative Stress on Health
There are studies that have connected oxidative stress caused by a buildup of untreated free radicals to a number of illnesses. Free radicals cause instability that creates injury and damage right down to the level of the DNA. The cells are damaged, and that can lead to skin cancer if you are out in the sun too long, or high blood sugar can cause oxidative stress on blood vessels, leading to heart disease. This has been shown in studies to link to cancer, autoimmune diseases, cataracts, rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s and Parkinsons’s disease, and aging skin.
Free Radicals Are Made Constantly
As seen in article I, the body is an entity out in an alien universe made of matter, energy, space, and time, and it is in a constant fight for survival. Any weakness, such as that brought on by Free Radicals reduces survival capacity. The bangs and hurts, and exposures to toxic materials and environments cause electron separation, creating these free radicals. This is normal.
Mother Nature provides antioxidants to repair these broken singular electrons by pairing them up again (we won’t go into how she does this, just understand that she has medicine to repair the damage done through slings and arrows of normal living.) Repair is an ongoing process within this miraculous living machine, the human body.
Fight Free Radicals with Antioxidants
Antioxidants will keep free radicals from waltzing with your healthy cells. While antioxidants help, a good diet is a point one should concentrate on. It helps minimize the risk of oxidative stress and damage. There are thought to be hundreds and possibly thousands of substances that can act as antioxidants. Each has its own role and can interact with others to help the body work effectively.
“Antioxidant” is not really the name of a substance, but rather it describes what a range of substances can do. Your body naturally creates some antioxidants but an antioxidant-rich diet can help as well. Foods with rich, vibrant colors often contain the most antioxidants.
The best sources of antioxidants are plant-based foods, especially fruits and vegetables. The main antioxidants that help regulate free radicals in your body are the vitamins A, C, and E and the mineral selenium. Specifically, here are some to include in your diet:
Vitamin A: Dairy produce, eggs, and liver
Vitamin C: Most fruits and vegetables, especially berries, oranges, and bell peppers
Vitamin E: Nuts and seeds, sunflower and other vegetable oils, and green, leafy vegetables
Beta-carotene: Brightly colored fruits and vegetables, such as carrots, peas, spinach, and mangoes
Lycopene: Pink and red fruits and vegetables, including tomatoes and watermelon
Lutein: Green, leafy vegetables, corn, papaya, and oranges
Selenium: Rice, corn, wheat, and other whole grains, as well as nuts, eggs, cheese, and legumes
Other foods that are believed to be good sources of antioxidants include:
- legumes such as black beans or kidney beans
- green and black teas
- red grapes
- dark chocolate
- goji berries
Goji berries and many other food products that contain antioxidants are available to purchase online. (Listings from Medical News Today)
I would rather not advise antioxidant supplements unless you see your nutritionist or Doctor relative to taking supplements. Reports are that they may harm as much as help when you should be able to get all of the antioxidants you need from a diet rich in them. So take care supplementing.
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