Imagine an iron pipe lying on the ground. As it weathers years of rain, it begins to rust.
Free radicals are those toxic water drops which make your body “rust” through its lifetime.
A free radical is an uncharged oxygen molecule that has one or more unpaired electrons, making it highly reactive (and often short-lived) with other molecules, such as DNA, protein or lipid; and “steal” their electrons in order to become stabilized. Hence, we get a destabilization in the other organic molecules that can trigger a large chain of free radical reactions that causes serious damage to cells.
In this way, oxidative stress becomes essentially an imbalance between the production of free radicals and the ability of the body to counteract or detoxify their harmful effects through neutralization by antioxidants. An imbalance between oxidants and antioxidants is the underlying basis of oxidative stress, and the general mechanism that explains aging.
While the free radicals are greedy, antioxidants are generous.
Thus, every cell that utilizes enzymes and oxygen to perform functions is exposed to oxygen free radical reactions that have the potential to cause serious damage to the cell. Antioxidants are molecules present in cells that prevent these reactions by donating an electron to the free radicals without becoming destabilized themselves. In other words, antioxidants inhibit the oxidation of other molecules.
1. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is essential for the appropriate functioning of adrenal glands and for the production of collagen. It also plays a key role in brain function, and producing energy in the body’s cells. Recent research also seems to show that it may affect blood cholesterol levels and might be able to boost other vitamins’ functions.
2. Vitamin E
Vitamin E saves the body’s fats from oxidization by free radicals and stops them turning into harmful cholesterol that produces clogged arteries and, in the long-term, cardiovascular disease. Vitamin E is typically used in skin creams because it seems to help with skin heal and scarring.
Flavonoids (or bioflavonoids) give plants their yellow, red or orange colours and are found in high quantities in certain colourful fruits, herbs and vegetables, such as green tea. They’re often called “nature’s biological response modifiers” because they naturally boost the immune system.
4. Coenzyme Q10
CoQ10 is an organic chemical compound that we produce in our bodies and consume in oily fish, organ meats, and whole grains. It has a major role in the body’s energy production system, and it is responsible of vital activities such as muscle contraction and production of protein. Thus, CoQ10 supplementation can help you fight fatigue, and overweight.
Beta-carotene and lycopene, among other carotenoids, are another type of plant pigment. For instance, orange for carrots, red for tomatoes. Thus, the main sources of carotenoids in our diet are fruit and vegetables
Yet another kind of yellow pigment also wards off disease:
6. Turmeric extract
It seems that pigments are good. It comes from the roots of the turmeric plant and can be used to treat Alzheimer’s disease, memory problems, arthritis and cancer. And it gives its characteristic yellow colour to curry.
7. Vitamin B
The B complex vitamins are eight water-soluble vitamins that are important for cell metabolism, and promote cell growth and division. They have a key role in the good functioning of the nervous system. A lack of vitamin B rapidly leads stress, depression and cardiovascular disease.
8. Folic acid
Folic acid is a form of the water-soluble Vitamin B9 found in leaf vegetables, peas, fortified cereal, sunflower seeds and liver. It is absolutely necessary for the production and maintenance of new cells, especially during childhood and pregnancy.
To be sure of getting the correct dose of antioxidants, make sure you consume at least five largish portions of various fruit and vegetables every day. In addition, you can boost that intake with a high-quality supplement and increase your chances of achieving an optimal level of health.