Free radicals and Antioxidants

In this advanced age that has progressed so much in science and technology, we are enjoying the comforts and paying the price with our health. There are few things which we need to understand in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle. We wont adopt good habits until we know the logic behind it. So lets understand the terms “Free radicals” and “Antioxidants”.

 What are free radicals?

 It is something “Free” that you would never want to enjoy 🙂

Free radicals are atoms or groups of atoms with an odd (unpaired) number of electrons.

Free radicals are very unstable. They react quickly with other molecules, trying to capture the needed electron to gain stability (pairing). Free radicals attack the nearest stable molecule and steal its electron. When the attacked molecule loses its electron, it becomes a free radical itself, beginning a chain reaction. Abundance of free radicals can lead to health risks.

Free radicals are created in our body due to many factors like environmental toxins, exposure to ionizing radiation, digestion, or when oxygen interacts with certain molecules.

They can damage the cells and even DNA thus raise the risk of cancer and other diseases, even hormonal acne.

 Although our body produces many enzymes that can help us fight and neutralized free radicals but they are not sufficient so we must supply antioxidants through our diet.

What are antioxidants?

antioxidantsAntioxidants are molecules, which can safely interact with free radicals. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals by donating one of their own electrons and terminate the chain reaction. The antioxidants themselves don’t become free radicals by donating an electron because they are stable in either form. Antioxidants are also known as “free radical scavengers.” They prevent free radical damage.

Fruits, vegetables, and grains are rich sources of antioxidants.

The vitamins C and E also protect the body against free radicals.

Some terms to understand

Ionizing radiation: It is a type of radiation given by x-ray procedures, radioactive substances, rays that enter the Earth’s atmosphere from outer space etc. It increases chemical activity inside cells that cause an atom or a molecule in a cell, to lose an electron thus creating a free radical.

Environmental toxins: Cigarette smoke, Air pollution, herbicides, some metals, and high-oxygen atmospheres may contain large amounts of free radicals and stimulate the body’s cells to produce more free radicals.

So keep shooting your free radicals by eating antioxidants 🙂 and enjoy a healthy life!

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