The Scary Truth About Free Radicals in the Body

If you’ve ever asked yourself, What are free radicals in the body? you’re not alone! This can be a confusing concept to get your head around, but here’s the bottom line – everything in your body will eventually turn into free radicals because of aging and the environment. Certain foods and lifestyle habits have the ability to affect whether or not these free radicals become dangerous, however. Luckily, these things can be controlled so that free radicals are less likely to create damage in your body. Read on to learn more about this important topic!

What are free radicals?

Free radicals are dangerous to your health and they’re formed in the body through exposure to polluted air, food, or stress.
Fortunately, scientists have found a solution: antioxidants. Antioxidants are foods that help fight free radicals by repairing them and improving the defenses of cells. Adding more antioxidants to your diet has been proven to reduce the number of free radicals in the body, which decreases our risk for diseases like cancer and heart disease. A recent study from Harvard Medical School found that people who eat at least three servings of fruits and vegetables per day have significantly lower levels of free radicals in their bodies than those who don’t eat these foods at all. Other studies show a link between higher consumption of certain antioxidants, such as vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene and selenium with decreased rates of cancers and chronic diseases.

How do we produce them?

A variety of factors, including pollution, radiation and even stress can produce free radicals in the body. We produce them when we’re exposed to substances or conditions that contain certain atoms that aren’t bound to other molecules. The free radical steals an electron from another molecule in order to stabilize itself, which creates a chain reaction that can damage cells in our bodies. Free radicals are capable of causing illness or death and some diseases have been directly linked to them.

What happens when our body cannot get rid of free radicals?

Free radicals in the body can cause harm by attacking cells, causing them to age faster and ultimately die. When free radicals attack DNA cells, it can lead to cancer. Free radicals are produced when oxygen and other environmental factors interact with our body’s cells. The worst of these factors is exposure to ultraviolet light, which causes even more free radicals in the body. The damage caused by free radicals is cumulative so there is no way to avoid this kind of wear and tear on your cells; what you can do is try to limit the production of free radicals through sun protection or wearing a hat.

Free Radicals in the Body

The Prevention

Doctors advise that exercise and a healthy diet will do much to avoid any free radicals in the body. While it is possible for free radicals to accumulate over time and damage cells, it is also true that certain foods can fight free radicals with antioxidants. One of the most important antioxidants for this is vitamin C, which can be found in oranges, grapefruits, kiwis, lemons, limes and tangerines. Foods rich in beta-carotene are another excellent choice as these are full of antioxidants. One very good source of beta-carotene is carrots.

Diet Tips to Reduce Free Radical Production

Diet and lifestyle choices can also help to reduce free radical production. Free radicals are unstable molecules that form through normal body processes, leading to cell damage over time. You can avoid or lessen free radical formation by avoiding smoking, heavy drinking, consuming excess sugar, coffee, and fried foods. Free radicals may also be created when we are exposed to chemicals like pesticides and car exhaust. Eliminating these chemical exposures where possible is an important way to lower your risk of developing health problems related to free radicals. There are a number of vitamins that you can take as supplements, including Vitamin C and E, which work together with antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables to protect cells from free radical damage.

The Cure

Free radicals in the body are responsible for various aging-related health issues, including increased risk of cancer. The great news is that while they may be inevitable due to lifestyle and genetic factors, there are ways to combat them. Healthy habits like eating a balanced diet and getting sufficient exercise, along with a good night’s sleep, can help fight off free radicals as well as minimize their risk to your body.

Ways to Remove or Detox Free Radicals

As a general rule, free radicals should be avoided. One of the best ways to avoid free radicals is by avoiding sunlight and other ultraviolet light, smoke and carcinogens. Eating antioxidant-rich foods like green tea and blueberries can also help fight free radicals because they neutralize them. Taking antioxidants as dietary supplements may also provide some relief from excess free radicals in the body.

A variety of fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants that will work to combat free radicals in the body; while taking fruit juices or eating frozen fruit are good options for adding more antioxidants into your diet. Some medications (for example, certain cancer treatments) are designed to kill free radicals before they have a chance to do damage to cells or tissue. Free radical exposure can cause cellular damage that accelerates aging and even leads to cancer – so make sure you take care of yourself with exercise, sleep, relaxation, healthy eating habits and protecting yourself from environmental pollutants.

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