What are free radicals?
Free radicals are produced in the body. These are responsible for many diseases. Free radicals are molecules with one free electron which is ready to react with another molecule. Antioxidants are the defence mechanism of the body to combat free radicals.
Antioxidants are produced in the body. Or we can replenish our body with antioxidants from outside. We can eat foods loaded with antioxidants. Colourful fruits and vegetables are high in antioxidants. Antioxidants help in reducing free radicals.
These molecules are produced when our bodies use oxygen for metabolic processes. They are left with one electron and are very unstable. To become stable, they react with nearby cell and takes an electron and in the process makes one more free radical. This chain reaction starts and affects the DNA of the cell and the cell starts to die. This causes cancer.
Free radicals are responsible for the damage done by cholesterol to the body. Free radicals oxidize cholesterol molecules and then these molecules attach to artery walls and cause a blockage.
Discussion about free radicals is not complete without oxidative stress. Oxidative stress occurs when our body is having more free radicals than it could handle. Oxidative stress is the presence of more reactive oxygen in the body than it could handle.
External factors are also responsible for the production of free radicals.
- Smoking and alcohol
- Excessive exercise
- Exposure to UV rays
Free radicals are responsible for many diseases like cancer, heart problems, skin and eye diseases, and ageing. To combat these we require a large number of antioxidants. We have to replenish our bodies with antioxidants from outside and also we have to make our bodies keep its immune system in robust health.
Ways to reduce free radicals
- Fruits and vegetables
- Moderate exercise
- Avoid tobacco and alcohol
Fruits and Vegetables Rich in antioxidants
Most or we can say all of the fruits and vegetables are loaded with vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. These nutrients act as antioxidants. Antioxidants help in the reduction of free radicals. They combine with free radicals and terminate the chain reaction started by the free radicals. This chain reaction leads to the damage of cells. You should eat 4-5 serving of different coloured fruits and veggies to have different antioxidants.
Fruits rich in antioxidants
All of the berries are very high in antioxidants. They are rich in flavonoids named anthocyanins. These antioxidants can neutralize the effect of free radicals to some extent. And in the process reduces DNA damage. Which helps in cancer prevention as well as prolongs ageing.
Citrus fruits are rich in vitamin C.Vitamin C is considered to be a very good disease-fighting agent. It strengthens the immune system and prevents allergies. It is a powerful antioxidant which works in an aqueous environment of cells and fights free radicals.
Mangoes are rich in many antioxidants namely quercetin, isoquercetin, fisetin, gallic acid. These antioxidants prevent the body from many types of cancers.
Grapes are rich in phytochemicals namely anthocyanins proanthocyanidin which imparts cancer-fighting properties to grapes.
vegetables rich in antioxidants,
- Kale, spinach, collard greens
These green veggies are loaded with disease-fighting nutrients. Antioxidants present in these vegges are kaempferol. lutein, quercetin. Dark green veggies are also high in vitamins A, C and E. Minerals like calcium, potassium, and magnesium are also present.
This dark red vegges are high in phytonutrients named betalains. These betalains give red colour to beets. And are also responsible for the antioxidant properties of beets. Beets are rich in betanin and violaxanthin.
- Brussels sprouts
These are rich in sulforaphane and isothiocyanates. And are known for preventing the body from cancer causing damage.
Broccoli is considered to be very high in antioxidants. It is super healthy. Broccoli contains sulforaphane which is a potent antioxidant. Also, broccoli contains indol3-carbinol which acts as a strong antioxidant. These antioxidants help in the reduction of free radicals and in the process prevents oxidative stress.
Exercise is very good for the body and its optimal health. We use more oxygen than normal while exercising. And we know that our body produces free radicals while utilizing oxygen. Our body has its own defence mechanism to fight these free radicals. The body produces glutathione, catalase and super oxidase dismutase to defend itself against oxidative damage.
Moderate exercise is beneficial while doing more than required harms the body. To combat this harm, the body will need more antioxidants than normal. Because the problem arises when the body comes under oxidative stress.
Yoga is also known to be good in reducing free radicals from the body. If done properly, yoga postures regulate the secretions in the body and help in optimum functioning of the organs. Yoga energizes the body cells. Some researches have proven that yoga works on the cellular level.
It helps in removing toxins from the body and in the process helps in preventing the damage to the cells. Yoga also prevents the body from oxidative stress. It also helps in strengthening the immune system of the body. Researches have shown that yoga helps in the production of more natural antioxidants of the body like glutathione, and an enzyme glutathione peroxidase.
Stress is also known for the production of free radicals in the body. And as we know that meditation helps in calming the mind.Feel-good hormones get released during meditation. Meditation helps in the production of the body’s defence mechanism of antioxidants. Researches have shown that along with yoga, meditation also helps in charging the body with glutathione ( body’s internal antioxidant).
Avoid smoking and alcohol
As we know, in today’s world, we come across so many pollutants which acts as free radicals in the body. Smoking and alcohol trigger the free radicals in the body. Avoiding these can ease the load on the body to some extent.
Tobacco compounds are oxidative in nature. After oxidation cigarette smoke releases 100 trillions of free radicals. These can damage the lungs and can cause lung disease.
Points to remember
- Eat antioxidant-rich foods.
- Meditate and perform yoga
- Indulge in moderate exercises
- Avoid smoking and alcohol.
It is impossible to totally make your body radicals free but few steps can minimise the effects of free radicals in the body.
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