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Free radicals and your diet

Free radicals are formed during the process of the oxidation in the body. To understand this better think of un-treated iron and air - when the iron is left exposed to the elements rust will form - oxidation will occur.

In our bodies oxygen is transported through the bloodstream to where it is required for normal cell function. One problem however exists with the oxygen where it could be lacking in the number of electrons it holds. In order to keep the electron states stable the molecules to obtain electrons from other molecules, which sets off a chain reaction.

The problem with the oxygen could be with the quality of oxygen as such, including pollution, cigarette smoke, as well as other environmental factors outside the body and certain problems within the body as well.

Other factors can lead to the production of free radicals as well, such as the exposure to radiation from the sun or from medical X-rays as well as environmental pollution and the diet we all ingest. When the body oxidizes the food to obtain the nutrients and energy, oxygen is used and unpaired electrons are released.

Free radicals are these altered, unpaired oxygen molecules which can cause a great deal of trouble in the body. They are a great contributing factor to the clogging of arteries.

Not all free radicals produced by the body are harmful and indeed, free radicals produced by the immune system help to destroy viruses and bacteria. Others are involved in producing vital hormones and activating enzymes that are needed for life itself.

The problem arises where there are excessive free radicals in the body which damage the cells and tissues, and the over-abundance of the free radicals create even more free radicals in the body.

In very high volumes free radicals can alter the genetic code material of cells themselves. Mutations that are formed by free radicals can lead to leukemia and other types of cancer as well as a host of other diseases.

Not only can free radicals cause disease but can also damage the protective cell membrane, this leads to retention of fluids in the cells, which is involved in the aging process.

To fight these free radicals, antioxidants can be taken into the diet, which neutralize and destroy the free radicals, helping to detoxify and protect the body.

Vitamin A, Beta-carotene, Vitamin E, Vitamin C, bioflavonoids, green tea, selenium, co-enzyme Q 10 and grape seed extract are all considered effective antioxidants, and it might be advisable to add an antioxidant to your daily supplement intake.

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Our site was last updated on 25 Oct 2023

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