Free Radicals & Antioxidants
We’ve all heard the term “free radicals,” but what precisely are they?
You may recall that atoms are kept together by chemical bonds, which are made up of paired electrons. A molecule’s stability is maintained by this chemical connection.
The molecule becomes unstable when an electron is unpaired, i.e. when the chemical connection is broken. It’s now extremely reactive.
That’s what we call a free radical. But what causes this to happen?
-Processes that are mostly totally normal. Chemical bonds are destroyed when the body transforms food into energy, for example (and formed).
-In order to communicate signals to neighboring cells, free radicals are occasionally required.
– They’re also produced by the immune system in order to combat dangerous bacteria and viruses.
The bad news is that UV radiation from the sun, pollution, cigarette smoke, and other environmental factors all break chemical bonds, resulting in the formation of free radicals. We have a problem with too many free radicals.
This is why:
Free radicals have a high level of reactivity. They go after the next stable molecule, “stealing” its electron in a frantic attempt to re-stabilize. When a molecule is “attacked,” it loses an electron and becomes a free radical. This sets off a chain reaction that leads to the death of a live cell.
Free radical damage to cells is the root cause of aging and a variety of diseases (e.g., arthritis, cancer, atherosclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and so on).
Fortunately, there is a mechanism to prevent free radical damage: antioxidants.
Free radicals are neutralized by antioxidants, which stop the “stealing” of electrons. One of their own electrons is donated. They do not become free radicals after donating an electron since they are stable in both forms.
What are antioxidants and where do they come from?
They are produced by the body in order to defend itself. When the quantity of free radicals in the body is increased due to external causes, the body is unable to cope, and diseases develop.
You can’t change the environment, but you can help your body protect itself by eating antioxidant-rich foods or taking antioxidant supplements.
Antioxidants such as vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, and lycopene can be found in foods and supplements. Given the ever-increasing need for environmental protection, researchers are working to uncover new sources of antioxidants. Scientific research reveals that a grape seed extract has 20 times the antioxidant strength of vitamin E and 50 times the antioxidant power of vitamin C.
To summarize, free radicals can cause a lot of damage to the body if they aren’t halted by antioxidants. That’s why it’s critical to consume lots of them through your diet!
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