What You Put in Your Mouth Can Beat Free Radical Attacks

Published:January 5th, 2012

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You may not be aware of it but your body is under attack at this very minute. Free radicals constantly bombard the body and cause damage that can lead to ageing and disease.

What are Free Radicals?

In school you probably learned that your body consists of masses of cells and that each cell is made up of molecules. A molecule, in turn, consists of atoms and each atom has two positive and two neutral electrons.

A free radical is very simply an atom that is missing one of its electrons. This destabilizes the atom and makes it start to search for another electron. It may steal one from its neighbour and this leads to a chain of atoms involved in the same behaviour. This becomes known as oxidation.

What is the Problem?

If left unchecked, your health is going to suffer. Lifestyle diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and gingivitis have all been shown to be linked to free radical damage.

What Causes Free Radicals?

A number of different things can cause free radicals ranging from a lack of sleep right through to your own metabolism. In general, poor lifestyle habits – like being sedentary, eating the wrong foods and drinking or smoking too much are big factors. You can halt the spread by using anti-oxidants.

How Do Antioxidants Help?

The simplest way to put it is that antioxidants have more electrons than they need. They are able to neutralize free radicals by giving one of their electrons. In doing so, they also help stop the spread of oxidation.

Sources of Antioxidants

Antioxidants occur naturally in a number of different fruit, vegetables, seeds, cereals and nuts. Broccoli, beans, garlic and berries are really great sources. Green tea, some fruit juices and coffee also have high levels.

Do I Get Enough?

You know how they are always saying, “Get your five servings of fruit and veggies a day?” It is the antioxidant content that they are after. This can mean making some drastic changes in terms of diet but the overall benefits make it worthwhile.

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