What are Free Radicals?
Free radicals are organic molecules responsible for aging, tissue damage, and possibly some diseases. These molecules are very unstable, therefore they look to bond with other molecules, destroying their vigour and perpetuating the detrimental process.
Over 50 diseases are proven to correlate with elevated levels of free radicals
in the body such as:
- Coronary heart disease
- Certain types of cancer.
It is now ascertained that free radicals are a risk factor and that it is necessary to keep them at a normal level, otherwise you have cellular damage.
Your body needs antioxidants.
Antioxidants, present in many foods, are molecules that prevent free radicals from harming healthy tissue.
What are antioxidants?
Antioxidants are molecules which can safely interact with free radicals and terminate the chain reaction before vital molecules are damaged. Although there are several enzyme systems within the body that scavenge free radicals, the principle micronutrient (vitamin) antioxidants are vitamin E, beta-carotene, and vitamin C. The best way to ensure adequate intake of the antioxidant nutrients is through a balanced diet consisting of 5-8 servings of fruits and vegetables per day.
What is oxidative stress?
Oxidative stress occurs when the generation of ROS (Reactive Oxygen Species) in a system exceeds the system’s ability to neutralize and eliminate them. The imbalance can result from a lack of antioxidant capacity caused by disturbance in production, distribution, or by an over-abundance of ROS from an environmental or behavioural stressor. If not regulated properly, the excess ROS can damage a cell’s lipids, protein or DNA, inhibiting normal function. Because of this, oxidative stress has been implicated in a growing list of human diseases as well as in the aging process.