Antioxidants and Free Radicals

antioxidants and free radicals

Learn about the battle between antioxidants and free radicals being waged in our bodies and how we can win it.

The Free Radical Theory of Aging is perhaps the best known theory of aging. In essence, many of the natural processes within the body produce cellular waste or byproducts. These sometimes include extra oxygen molecules that roam free in the body until they find molecules that can fit an extra unit of oxygen in their structure.

Free radicals, therefore, can cause unintended damage to tissues in the body. One way to look at this process is the phenomenon of rusting. Rust is basically an oxidation process. Free radicals cause our bodies to rust in the simplest sense.

This is where antioxidants come to the rescue. What if we could slow down or minimize the damage done by free radicals?

What are Antioxidants? How do Antioxidants Work?

Antioxidants are free radical scavengers. They seek out and bind to the free radicals before they can do damage to your bodyʼs vital organs and tissues. They effectively neutralize the potential damage these "unattached" oxygen molecules could cause by binding to various tissues in the body.

What are the best sources of antioxidants?

antioxidant and free radicals

Our bodies produce some antioxidants to fight free radicals. One such chemical is SOD or superoxide dismutase. This is also available in supplement form.

Nature in her wisdom provided the biochemical means to protect plants from the cellular damage caused by oxidation. Plants naturally produce antioxidants. Adding antioxidant rich foods to your diet gives you the benefits of counteracting free radicals. Antioxidant juices from the powerful superfruits are a great way to get more antioxidants in your diet.

You can also get antioxidants from drinking wine. You can take antioxidant vitamins and supplements. Many of the best antioxidant supplements contain red wine extract, grape seed extract, green tea extract, SOD, or ALA which is alpha lipoic acid.

Of course, there are many excellent fruit and vegetable extracts that have very high ORAC values. ORAC is a measure of the oxygen radical absorbance capacity of various foods or supplements. Blueberries and black currants have some of the highest measured ORAC values. Add some to your diet.

Benefits of Antioxidants

antioxidants and free radicals

What are the benefits of higher levels of antioxidants in your body? As described previously, there is the immediate benefit of reducing the effects of oxidation in the body. To give you a great example of the benefit of higher levels of antioxidants in the blood stream I would like to relate a story by Dr. Al Sears.

One of his patients was 88 years old and had bad habits. Despite years of drinking and smoking he was vibrant, healthy, and energetic. What was his secret to great health and longevity? He was lucky to have a naturally high level of antioxidants in his system.

Not all of us are lucky when it comes to our inherited DNA. So be sure to add antioxidants to your regular diet. Eat antioxidant rich foods and juices. Take supplements as needed to increase your levels of free radical scavengers in your system. Drink some red wines and enjoy the health benefits. Eat some super foods. They taste great and are equally great for you.

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