Free radicals are made up of molecules that have unpaired electrons. These electrons are highly unstable and reactive, merging with other molecules which changes their structure. These molecules become free radicals, which begin wrecking havoc on healthy cells in the body, leading to premature aging as well as numerous chronic diseases. Despite the fact that free radicals can wreck havoc on the cells of the body, they are not all bad They do help the immune system by attacking and riding the body of viruses, bacteria, fungi, and more, but unfortunately they also destroy healthy cells during this oxidative process. Free radicals can enter the body through stress, pollution, excess sun exposure, toxins, and cigarette smoke.
Fortunately there is a way to ward off the vicious attack to your cells that free radicals cause: antioxidants, your body’˜s protectors. Antioxidants are the perfect way to stop and even reverse damage to cells caused by free radicals. You will find antioxidants in Vitamins C, E, A, Selenium, Carotene and many more. Antioxidants protect the body from free radicals by neutralizing their negative effects. This allow new, healthy cells to form, although the older a person becomes, the less of an effect antioxidants have on the body.
There are many food sources that contain antioxidants: All sorts of berries, including blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries as well as cranberries. Other fruits that are high in antioxidants are apples, cherries, pears, pineapples, plums, grapefruits and oranges. Of course other fruits have antioxidant properties as well, so there is a wide variety to choose from. Additional foods containing antioxidants are eggs, red meat, fish, beans, nuts, leafy vegetables, carrots, beets, tomatoes, red wine, and much more.
While most people derive antioxidants from the foods that they eat, some people are unable to consume amounts adequate enough to slow aging and decrease the likelihood that chronic illnesses will arise as a result of harmful free radicals. In this and similar cases, supplements, super foods, smoothies, green drinks and vitamins can be taken in order to compensate, although doctors believe that antioxidants from food sources are more potent and work more quickly.
Although free radicals have the potential to cause a great deal of damage in the body, causing a person to age quicker than they normally would have and develop various chronic diseases, including cancer, if a person adds enough antioxidants to their diet, they will have an arsenal of defense against the dangerous cell invaders called free radicals.
Mayo Clinic Free Radical Information Page – http://www.mayoclinic.org/medical-edge-newspaper-2009/jun-05b.html
National Cancer Institute Antioxidant Page – http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/prevention/antioxidants