Free radicals in your body can develop while metabolizing food to offset and neutralize bacteria and viruses, but they also come from external sources such as exposure to X-rays, ozone, cigarette smoking, air pollutants, and industrial chemicals. They’ll attack any molecule to get the electrons it needs to survive. The more molecules it attacks the more free radicals develop, creating a terrible chain reaction.
When looking deeper into free radicals, they’re usually managed by the human body. However, if antioxidants are unavailable or free radicals become aggressive they can start to destroy living cells. This results in what’s called Oxidative Stress. This affects lipids, nucleic acids, and proteins creating significant issues with their structure and functions. There have been researchers who have found links to free radicals and the growth of tumors; meanwhile, they also found that oxidative stress significantly contributions to inflammatory diseases (arthritis, adult respiratory diseases, etc), ischemic diseases (heart disease, stroke, etc.) and neurological disorders (Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, muscular dystrophy).
Free radical damage accumulates with age and can possibly even expedite it. Everyone has “normal” changes that progress in time, but your DNA and outside environment can play important factors and determine how these destructive molecules change throughout your body.
Your best fighting chance against free radicals, are antioxidants. Antioxidants can reduce a free radicals ability to damage your body by neutralizing it. They donate electrons to the free radicals, causing them to stop stealing from other molecules and perpetuating the problem. The antioxidant nutrients themselves don’t become free radicals by donating an electron because they are stable in both forms. They prevent cell & tissue damage which helps in your body’s fight against diseases.
This makes antioxidant a pretty important factor in the human body. There are supplements you can take to increase antioxidants in your body or you can start including more antioxidant rich foods in your diet.
Here’s a list of ways to add more antioxidants to your diet:
- Artichokes – If you eat up to 3 artichokes a day you may be able to neutralize the negative effects of free radicals by as much as 60%. Include them in your meals, as a side or main entrée. Chop some up in your salad or steam them up with a little butter! The benefits of artichoke don’t just end with that, they’re also great for digestive upset and aid in the relief of bloat or gassiness.
- Beans –Red, Kidney, & Pinto all prove to help your body on a cellular level. They can give you the nutritional compounds you need to boost your immune system.
- Blueberries – Wild more so than cultivated but either way they are ranked highest on the list of antioxidant filled fruits. They contain vitamins and minerals known to strengthen the immune system, along with key phytochemicals that may help protect against cancer and heart disease.
- Astaxanthin – It is a supplement 6000 times more powerful than Vitamin C, giving it tremendous ability to reduce free radicals. It is one of the most powerful and most studied carotenoids. It improves endurance, skin protection against Sun damage, skin & hair health, and reduces inflammation in the body. Recommended daily dose of 10mg.
Please remember to ALWAYS consult with your doctor before taking any supplements!
Contributions by: 50 Plus Report Editorial Team