We have all heard of Free Radicals and we are all probably aware that they are not good; but who actually knows what they are and why are they bad?
“An atom or group of atoms that has at least one unpaired electron and is therefore unstable and highly reactive. In animal tissues, free radicals can damage cells and are believed to accelerate the progression of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and age-related diseases.”
Once formed, the highly reactive radicals can start a chain reaction as they will then go and steal an electron off another molecule who in turn steals off another and so on. It is now known that free radicals are associated with as many as 60 different diseases including heart disease, many forms for cancer, Alzheimer’s Disease, arthritis, stroke, allergies, chronic fatigue and aging in general. The more Free Radicals we have the faster our skin ages and the faster we look older.
External contributors of Free Radicals can be:
- exposure to X-rays
- cigarette smoke, legal and illegal drugs, alcohol
- air pollutants
- certain drugs, pesticides
- UV penetration
- stress and a busy lifestyle
- poor diet
- illness, pregnancy
- what is applied to our skin
- How can we prevent this chain reaction?
Antioxidants neutralize free radicals by donating one of their own electrons, ending the electron-“stealing” reaction. In doing this the antioxidant nutrients themselves don’t become free radicals as they are stable in either form.
Vitamins C and E, are thought to protect the body against the destructive effects of free radicals.
Vitamin E – One of the most efficient chain-breaking antioxidants available. Nuts, seeds, and vegetable oils are among the best sources.
Vitamin C – The most abundant water-soluble antioxidant in the body. Also helps return vitamin E to its active form. Can be found in citrus fruits (such as oranges and grapefruit) and their juices, as well as red and green pepper and kiwifruit.
Other ways we can help prevent Free Radicals:
- A good diet
- Healthy lifestyle
- Wear sunblock every day
- Eating food rich in Antioxidants
- Take time out for yourself to alleviate stress