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 other molecule.Antioxidants are the defense 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. Colorful fruits and vegetables are high in antioxidants. Antioxidants helps in reducing free radicals.
These molecules are produced when our bodies uses oxygen for metabolic processes. They are left with one electron and are very unstable. To become stable, they react with near by cell and takes an electron and in the process makes one more free radical. This chain reaction starts and effects the DNA of cell and the cell starts to die.This causes cancer.
Free radicals are responsible for the damage done by cholesterol to body. Free radicals oxidize cholesterol molecules and then these molecules attach to artery walls and causes 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 presence of more reactive oxygen in the body than it could handle.
External factors are also responsible for 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 aging.To combat these we require a large amount 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 acts as antioxidants.Antioxidants helps in 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 colored fruits and veges 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 aging.
Citrus fruits are rich in vitamin C.Vitamin C is considered to be a very good disease fighting agent. It strengthens immune system and prevent allergies.It is a powerful antioxidant which works in aqueous environment of cells and fight free radicals.
Mangoes are rich in many antioxidants namely quercetin, isoquercetin, fisetin, gallic acid. These antioxidants prevents body from many tyoes of cancers.
Grapes are rich in phyto chemicals namely anthocyanins proanthocynadin which imparts cancer fighting properties to grapes.
vegetables rich in antioxidants,
- Kale, spinach, collard greens
These green vegges are loaded with disease fighting nutrients. Antioxidants present in these vegges are kaempeferol. lutein, quercetin. Dark green veges are also high in vitamins A,C and E. Minerals like calcium, pottasium, and magnesium are also present.
These dark red vegges are high in phytonutriets named betalains. These betalains give red color to beets.And are also responsible for the antioxidant properties of beets. Beets are rich in betanin and vulgaxanthin.
- Brussels sprouts
These are rich in sulphoraphanes and isothiocyanates.And are known for preventing the body from cnacer causing damage.
Broccoli is considered to be very high in antioxidants.It is a super healthy.Broccoli contains sulforapanes which are potent antioxidants. Also broccoli contains indol3-carbinol which acts as strong antioxidant.These antioxidants helps in reduction of free radicals and in the process prevents oxidative stress.
Exercise is very good for 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 defense mechanism to fight these free radicals.Body produces glutathione, catalse and superoxidase dismutase to defend itself against oxidative damage.
Moderate exercise is beneficial while doing more than required harms the body. To combat this harm, body will need more antioxidants than normal. Because the problem arises when body comes under oxidative stress.
Yoga is also known to be good in reducing free radicals from body.If done properly, yoga postures regulate the secretions in the body and helps in optimum functioning of the organs.Yoga energizes the body cells. Some researches have proven that yoga works on 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 immune system of the body.Researches have shown that yoga helps in production of more natural antioxidants of the body like glutathione, and an enzyme glutathione peroxidase.
Stress is also known for the production of fee 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 production of body’s defense 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 triggers 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 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.