Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Round Up Of Free Radicals Is The Antioxidants Job! by Kristin Alexander

When seeking to lose weight, get fit and eat right, it's helpful to look a little closer at why certain things are recommended. There's a lot of interest in antioxidants, exactly why we need them and what it is they do. Understanding the process can give you the inspiration to make sure you get your share.

Breathing is ongoing, every day of our lives. Breathe in, breathe out. Move, work, think. Oxygen keeps our bodies alive, but also plays a role in the breakdown of our physical functionality because of oxidative stress. This is the damage made to a cell through the oxidation process. Free radicals are created during the metabolism of oxygen and are the molecules responsible for aging, tissue damage and many diseases. This happens because free radicals are missing an electron and will oxidize anything, cell membranes, key enzymes, even DNA to to obtain the missing electron. They are like little destroyers, slowly but surely undermining the basic structure and health of the body.

While our body does an amazing job of neutralizing free radicals in a normal, low toxin environment, we are only designed to handle so much. Physical stresses such as smoking, too many medications, radiation, environmental and air pollution, bad foods and mental stress, just to name a few, all contribute to an increased amount of free radicals in the body. Even worse, free radicals are prolific. They zip around until they collide with a stable molecule causing the release of one of it's two electrons. The free radical grabs one of the released electrons to make itself whole. The problem? This has left the atoms of the formerly stable molecule to share one unpaired electron and so begins a chain reaction that produces untold numbers of molecular fragments with unpaired electrons doing the same thing. Over time the damage undermines health.

Here's where the wonder of antioxidants come in. They effectively reduce and control the number of free radicals in your body. Think of antioxidants as fantastic little molecules that are able to neutralize free radicals by simply giving up an electron. Here's the crucial part...antioxidants are able to donate their electrons without generating more free radicals themselves!

Fortunately for us the list of foods containing antioxidants is very extensive. Vegetables, fruits, most nuts, fish and shellfish, red meat, grains, eggs, chicken, and garlic are a few examples. Some foods are particularly high in antioxidants. Berries, green tea, pomegranates, leafy greens, beans, peppers, tomatoes and many more. What you notice right away is that these foods are not processed. They are real foods in their natural state. The more you eat foods in their natural state the more antioxidants you will get into your body to tame the radical behavior of the free radicals. If eating these free radical destroying foods is a challenge, at least take an antioxidant supplement and give your body what it needs to ward off the ravages of degenerative disease and aging for as long as possible.